Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,564,024)
PROJECT ABSTRACT: COUNCIL AGAINST YOUTH VIOLENCE EXPANSION
Youth in the city of Trenton (NJ) spend their formative years in a city with high rates of poverty, crime, gang activity and community violence which perpetuates a youth-violence culture that ensnares many youth and their futures. According to the 2017 Trenton Community Health Needs Assessment Report, crime and safety were consistently discussed as major issues by city residents; and there is much quantitative data that continues to corroborate their concerns.
Recognizing that the outcomes of violence are broader than physical injury, PEI Kids launched the Council Against Youth Violence (CAYV) in 2019 with funding from the Department of Justice to provide a robust, coordinated human services response for youth victims of gang and community violence using a collaborative MDT model. In partnership with six community-based organizations and the Level 2 Trauma Center/hospital, services provided include case management; mental-health counseling; emergency shelter for endangered/homeless/runaway youth; relocation; tutoring; high-school equivalency prep/testing; alcohol/drug assessment and treatment; anger management; crisis counseling for victims of sexual assault/exploitation; and specialized services for youth with disabilities/complex needs.
Project goals include 1)streamlining/expediting services to victims though effective case management; 2)coordinating services across multiple providers; 3)enhancing the safety of at-risk youth/youth victims; 4)reducing their risk of (re)victimization; and 5)increasing understanding of community violence and its effects to promote trauma-informed response/interventions among youth-serving professionals.
The CAYV Expansion will continue to advance these goals as well as additional goals of 6)offering a higher level of care by onboarding additional program partners/service providers; 7)creating a support group to provide peer and professional support for youth exposed to violence; and 8)adding 24-hour crisis response capability to support the State’s FBI office with serving youth crime victims during weekends/off-hours.
Outcomes metrics are designed to support assessment of these (8) goals as well as the community’s response in delivering services for youth victims; and effectiveness of the interventions provided. Through this project, PEI Kids will strategically expand CAYV’s services to support the physical safety, mental health, social, support network, and educational needs of victims, all critical elements of healthy youth development that can be derailed by violence victimization.
PEI Kids seeks priority consideration under the following Priority Areas:
Area 2: Communities with documented high/increasing levels of homicides per capita.
Area 3: Applicants with existing partnerships/MDT stakeholder members (see attachment, “CVIPI Team”).
PEI Kids will collaborate with research partner, The College of New Jersey (MOU attached)