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D.C. Considers New Approach To Youth With Behavioral Problems

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The D.C. Council takes up the South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act, sweeping legislation that is a response to last year's mass shooting in Southeast D.C.
Patrick Madden
The D.C. Council takes up the South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act, sweeping legislation that is a response to last year's mass shooting in Southeast D.C.

Council member David Catania says the city needs to overhaul how it screens young people with mental health and behavior health issues.

He says problems need to be identified and treated at a much earlier age and a bill he's proposing would, among many things, require that all children enrolled in pre-K programs be screened for developmental and behavior health disorders.

The measure also proposes a harder line on truancy, requiring earlier intervention for unexcused absences.

Catania says the candlelight vigils that often follow shootings are important but they're not solutions.

"We are losing one generation after another of young people, primarily in our urban communities, and we have yet to address the underlying issue," says Catania.

Catania says the measure would also have multiple deadlines and benchmarks to keep lawmakers accountable.

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