Haitian Youth face many kinds of problems related to their cultural distinctness from other groups making up the highly diverse population of South Florida. One of the most important of these problems is gang activity and involvement of Haitian youth in drug abuse and trafficking. Recent reports from agencies that deliver services to Haitian communities in South Florida observe that Haitian youths have formed gangs since 1994, and have appeared increasingly in news reports and police records as assailants and perpetrators in serious crimes connected with gang activity. Development of gangs often happens as part of a new immigrant group's adaptation to a hostile host environment, but in the base of Haitian youth, this development may not be transitory as it had been with Dade County's Cuban immigrants of the 1960s and 1970s. Ongoing prejudice and continued marginalization based on lack of education and job skills may perpetuate gangs formed among contemporary Haitian youths. In order to intervene more effectively in prevention of this undesirable development, the present research team proposes, in conjunction with a highly active community based organization, the Center for Haitian Studies, to conduct a study of Haitian youth at risk, using network tracing techniques to identify and recruit 300 participants, 150 gang members and 150 at risk non- gang members, into a study of emerging delinquency among Haitian youths in South Florida. Participants will respond to an interview schedule and an assessment for PTSD related trauma and addiction severity, and a subset of 160 participants will participate in intensive, ethnographic study carried out by a team of field ethnographers. Results of this qualitative and quantitative inquiry will suggest effective strategies for preventing further onset and continuation of gang related and other forms of delinquency among Haitian youths.
|Douyon, Richard; Herns Marcelin, Louis; Jean-Gilles, Michele et al. (2005) Response to trauma in Haitian youth at risk. J Ethn Subst Abuse 4:115-38|