The Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Project, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs and U.S. Department of Justice, is designed to support and document the work of statewide initiatives for victims of crime. These programs promote healing through the coordination of trauma-informed prevention and intervention services for children and/or youth and their families.
Currently, youth and families may seek support from child welfare, courts, education, social services, juvenile justice, victim services and health services systems. At times, youth and families enter through several doors before finding and receiving adequate and appropriate services that meet their needs as victims. The key benefit of the Linking Systems of Care project is to formally integrate these systems by equipping all systems of care with the tools to respond effectively to victims of crime. This approach ensures young victims and families are set on a path toward healing.
“Healing happens when systems of care offer coordinated treatment and create the opportunity to make positive social-emotional connections and provide for self-determination,” said Judge Ramona Gonzalez, chair of the Linking Systems of Care Steering Committee and NCJFCJ president-elect. “This is what Linking Systems of Care is – the chance to build capacity within communities. Building this capacity is my responsibility and commitment to my community.”
resources that can be used when writing or speaking about child maltreatment and victimization;
videos and online trainings;
profiles of the four demonstration sites in four states; and
a toolkit to help guide efforts for coordinators to help replicate the process from the demonstration sites in their community. From project planning, community engagement, victim identification and referral, and legal considerations, the toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to linking systems of care.
Montana, Virginia, Illinois and Ohio were chosen as demonstration states for the strength of their applications in a competitive federal award process. These sites highlighted statewide collaborations, diversity of their youth populations and stakeholders, and long-term commitment to modeling change.
In each of the states, a lead grantee organization is building a Linking Systems of Care network of stakeholders and partners; assessing underserved populations and service gaps; developing concrete strategies, techniques and tools for meeting victim needs; and linking child and youth victims to an expanded array of support services. Subject to adequate participation and performance, each demonstration project has the possibility of up to six years of ongoing project support through OVC.
“Putting the needs of child and youth victims and their families is the core principle of this project,” said Judge John J. Romero Jr., NCJFCJ president. “It’s important for this vulnerable population to have access to prevention and intervention services without obstacles or challenges in order to begin the process of healing as soon as possible.”
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ): Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nevada-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and is focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.
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