Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $930,000)
The target population for this project is youth who have experienced traumatic stress, abuse, and victimization (e.g., exposure to violence) in Robeson, Richmond, and Scotland Counties, North Carolina (NC). This initiative serves disadvantaged, minority (Lumbee Indian, African American, Latinx, immigrant), gender diverse (LGBTQ+) youth who have been exposed to violence in rural counties and have few services or supports. According to 2018 Uniform Crime Reports, these counties had the 5th, 3rd, and 1st highest Index Crime Rates per 100,000 in NC. All three counties are rural with high levels of poverty, delinquency, and crime. The objectives of the initiative are to: 1) improve family and community responses to children exposed to violence; 2) respond to victimization of children as a result of violence that occurs in the school, community or family; 3) increase protective factors to prevent juvenile violence, delinquency, and victimization in areas with high exposure to violence; and 4) support communities to develop, design, and deliver strategies to support children exposed to violence by building capacity and increasing awareness with outreach strategies. To reach these objectives, Robeson County Teen Court Youth Services (NC-YVPC) will: 1) Convene a multidisciplinary team to address service gaps and barriers; and 2) Implement and evaluate a comprehensive network of services for children exposed to violence and their families. Their services will build the capacity within the three rural jurisdictions to help children exposed to violence and prevent/reduce juvenile violent crime. For each year of the grant, measurable goals include: 1) Providing training and consultation on Trauma-Informed Mental Health Practices using the Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum for at least 150 service providers and community members; 2) Having at least 240 youth experiencing traumatic stress and/or their caregivers participate in therapeutic outreach activities. Outreach activities use expressive arts to increase protective factors such as creative engagement and social support; and 3) Having at least 120 youth experiencing traumatic stress and/or their caregivers participate in evidenced-based, trauma-focused therapies. The proposed training, outreach, and therapy activities (i.e., yMHFA, Expressive Arts, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) all have extensive evidence bases from prior research and NC-YVPC has 10 years of experience working in the target communities.