Virginia receives more than $3.5 million in federal funding to support vulnerable youth


(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has been awarded more than $3.5 million in competitive federal funding to help vulnerable youth in Virginia.

It will be $1.83 million under the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Program and $1.68 million under the Office of Victims of Crime’s Services for Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking program.

The STOP School Violence grant will fund a 36-month Virginia C.A.R.E.S. project to build Caring, Awareness, Recognition, Engagement, and Support in schools.

The initiative works to increase mental health awareness and enhance the safety and well-being of educational settings by helping to create positive school climates, awareness of resources, recognition of at-risk behaviors, and engagement with the community.

The project will consist of a public service announcement campaign on suicide prevention that is estimated to garner over five million social media impression and the implementation of the Handle with Care and Pathways for Prevention of School Violence programs.

Virginia will set up a system for law enforcement to alert dedicated school personnel when a child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic incident so the school can provide the additional support that is needed to help mitigate the impacts of trauma on the child.

The Services for Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking project will develop, expand, and strengthen services for minor victims of sex trafficking, including comprehensive wraparound case management services, trauma-informed mental health services, substance abuse counseling, legal services, residential treatment options, and a non-traditional host home program.

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