More than just terrifying, being exposed to violence as a child can be life-altering. Research in neuroscience indicates that early trauma increases the neural connections in our brains associated with fear, anxiety, and impulsiveness. That is why trauma-informed intervention is one critical component in the Safe and Thriving Communities program from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Taking a systemic, multifaceted approach to curbing youth and gang violence, this grant seeks to increase a community's capacity to: enhance public safety, reduce youth offending and victimization, and help heal collective, historical and individual trauma in order to break the cycle of destruction.
Safe and Thriving Communities: Planning and Collaboration
Collaboration is an essential part of this program. Applicants must propose and implement their work through collaborative groups that include youth, families, community members, and non-public entities that serve youth and families. Recipients will also have access to strategic and individualized consultation, training and technical assistance. The program's main objectives include:
- Prioritizing the prevention of both youth violence and children's exposure to violence in the recipient's jurisdiction and working with public and private groups to help make it a national priority.
- Stopping youth gang and gun violence and community violence affecting youth.
- Improving the access and quality of available services that help youth heal from trauma and promote positive community development.
Applying for the Program
Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, state and local governments, and consortia. Apply by April 3, 2017. The OJJDP expects to make up to ten awards of up to $333,000. Matching is not required. Helpful links include the 2017 Q & A section and the 2017 prerecorded solicitation review webinar at the OJJDP Online University.
More Resources for Curbing Gang and Youth Violence
The following resources are a few of the many the OJJDP recommends to help communities that are dealing with youth violence and its impact:
- Changing Minds Now - This highly engaging website offers five specific steps everyone can take to help children recover from trauma at home, in schools, health care settings and the community. Each suggestion offers practical ways to implement it and the dynamics behind why it works.
- Indian Country Child Trauma Center (ICCTC) - Part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, the ICCTC was established to develop guidelines that incorporate culturally appropriate practices in trauma treatment protocol and community outreach campaigns.
- The Shared Framework for Reducing Youth Violence and Promoting Well Being - A guide to successful evidence-based practices based on signature OJJDP programs. Available in a Prezi presentation or text, it addresses individual, family, peer, and societal factors that contribute to violence and research-based principles to help mitigate them.
- National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention - A network of federal agencies and communities sharing information about what works.