DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AWARDS $6.2 MILLION TO SUPPORT CHILDREN EXPOSED TO VIOLENCE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced $6.2 million in awards to 15 communities to support children and families exposed to violence, including experiencing and witnessing violent crime, sexual and physical assault, child abuse, and domestic violence.
"These awards will assist communities with early intervention, giving children exposed to violence much better opportunities for development of healthy behavior early in their lives," said Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. "Helping communities combat the long-term impact of violence in the life of a child reduces the potential for substance abuse problems, educational difficulties, mental health problems and other emotional and developmental challenges."
The grants are awarded under OJP's Safe Start Promising Approaches for Children Exposed to Violence program. Funds may be used to implement effective intervention strategies that curb children's exposure to violence. Safe Start Promising Approaches enables communities to strengthen existing alliances among community groups such as law enforcement, mental health practitioners, child welfare organizations and domestic violence victim advocates and providers, in order to supply the best services to meet the needs of young children and families who have been exposed to violence or who are at risk of exposure.
"A child who witnesses or is exposed to violence at a young age can experience severe trauma, and Safe Start provides these children with a chance to succeed in life," said J. Robert Flores, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Safe Start Promising Approaches is the second phase of the Safe Start Initiative, which was created by OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The original Safe Start, which included 11 sites nationwide, began in 2000 and focused on developing a systemic response to the problem of children's exposure to violence. Those sites received initial Safe Start funding to implement systems and develop enhanced policies and practices within their communities to better identify and serve children exposed to violence.
The fifteen sites awarded Safe Start Promising Approaches grants are listed below. (Award amounts are subject to change pending final budget review.)
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.