Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
Chris 180 will implement Project Violence Prevention, a comprehensive initiative within 20 Title I Atlanta Public Schools to enhance school capacity to address and reduce the incidence of youth violence and delinquency by reducing risk factors for youth violence and promoting protective factors that are linked to crime and violence prevention. Project Violence Prevention will provide mental health support services, classroom supports, training and consultation for school staff, and parent/family supports to improve school capacity to prevent violence. By strengthening links between schools, families, and community-based organizations, the project will promote stability and positive coping strategies in the classroom, in homes, and throughout the communities served. The 20 Atlanta Public Schools chosen for the project serve ages PreK-12 and were chosen due to demonstrated risk factors for violence such as high levels of academic failure and a high proportion of students who are economically disadvantaged. The vast majority of the student population are from populations that are historically marginalized (i.e. Black or Latinx). The purpose of the project is to implement evidence-based strategies that reduce and prevent incidence of juvenile violence and delinquency with a focus on promoting racial equity and addressing the disproportionate effect of juvenile violence on minority populations. Using a trauma-informed lens, CHRIS 180 will implement Tier 1 (universal), Tier 2 (targeted), and Tier 3 (individual/few) strategies. Violence Prevention Specialists will bridge the links between homes, schools, and communities by hosting discussion groups, implementing “parent nights” for psychoeducation, delivering trauma-informed training for teachers, and more. The primary role of the Violence Prevention Specialist will be to create a positive school climate that benefits all students while helping school staff identify students who could benefit from more targeted services. Other implementation strategies include the development of “Peace Corners,” an Abstract CHRIS 180, Inc. O-OJJDP-2022-171274 evidence-informed socio-emotional learning tool that helps students develop healthy coping mechanisms and regulatory skills. For identified students with moderate to severe behavioral or social service needs, school-based therapists will deliver individual, family, and group therapy using evidence-based practices such as Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, a STEP parenting curriculum, and more. Service “backpacks” are individualized and address the needs and strengths of the student while recognizing the family as a critical change agent.