RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday $3.5 million in competitive federal funding has been awarded to the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to help vulnerable youth in the commonwealth.
The DCJS received two awards from the United States Department of Justice through the Office of Justice Programs — $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.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the STOP School Violence grant will fund a 36-month Virginia C.A.R.E.S. project 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.
The Services for Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking project will develop, expand and strengthen services for minor victims of sex trafficking.
“We know that when children are exposed to traumatic events, it impacts their ability to learn and succeed in school,” said Governor Northam in the release. “This public health crisis has presented a myriad of new challenges for our schools, and we have a responsibility to ensure all students have safe environments where they can thrive, whether they are learning remotely from home or in the classroom. These grants will play an important role in strengthening assistance programs and expanding trauma-informed resources for our most vulnerable young Virginians.”
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