Office of Justice Programs News



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nine sites will share more than $6 million in the first year of a 5 ½ year grant to develop comprehensive efforts to help children exposed to violence, Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder announced today. The sites are San Francisco, CA.; Bridgeport, CT.; Pinellas County, FL.; Chicago, IL.; Washington County, ME.; Baltimore, MD.; Rochester, N.Y.; Chatham County, N.C. and Spokane, WA. These grantees, the first recipients of these Safe Start Initiative grants, will receive approximately $670,000 each year.

"Children exposed to violence are more likely to become violent themselves, regardless of whether they were victimized directly or indirectly, by witnessing violence," said Holder. "These grants will enable communities to intervene early to protect children exposed to violence from further violence and provide them with the treatment they need for recovery."

The Safe Start Initiative is part of the Children Exposed to Violence Initiative (CEVI), which was launched by President Clinton in December 1998. CEVI is a nationwide effort to seek new and effective means to prevent children's exposure to violence, to adopt innovative intervention efforts, and to find better ways to hold perpetrators accountable.

The Safe Start Initiative is based in part on the Child Development–Community Policing (CD-CP) Program, a pilot program developed by the Yale University and the New Haven Connecticut Police Department with OJJDP support. The CD-CP program brings police officers and mental health professionals together through training, consultation and support, to provide constructive intervention for child violent crime victims and witnesses.

"The Safe Start Initiative recognizes that the whole community needs to come together to help children exposed to violence," said John Wilson, Acting Administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). "These grants will help more communities follow the example set by the Yale-New Haven program."

OJJDP, which is administering the Safe Start Initiative, selected today's nine grantees after a competitive review of 208 applications. The awards are for the first year of a 66-month program period. Future awards will be contingent on funding availability.

The grantees will devote funding in its first year to a thorough review of existing community services and gaps that need to be filled. Based on this review, the grantees will plan a 5-year comprehensive response. The sites' plans will be based on coordination among law enforcement, mental health and medical professionals and child protective service providers. The plans will include efforts such as child advocacy centers, home visitation programs, and domestic violence services for battered mothers whose children are at a high risk of exposure to violence.

In addition to the nine Safe Start sites, OJJDP also awarded $670,000 to each of three sites -- Miami, Fl; New Orleans, La and Newark, N.J. -- for a two-year period. These sites will focus on specific improvements to services for children exposed to violence. The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence in New Haven will work with OJJDP to provide training and technical support to the Safe Start sites.

A list of the Safe Start grantees is attached. Copies of the OJJDP bulletin Child- Development–Community Policing: Partnership in a Climate of Violence as well as information about other OJJDP publications, programs and conferences are available through the OJJDP Website at or the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.

Information about other bureaus and program offices in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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