Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $250,000)
This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for research and evaluation activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.
To address the gap in services for homeless children who have experienced violence and trauma, The National Center on Family Homelessness at American Institutes for Research (AIR/NCFH), in partnership with the University of Maryland's Family-Informed Trauma Treatment Center and the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, proposes "START with Kids" (Shelter-based, Trauma-informed Assessment, Referral and Treatment), a comprehensive approach to providing trauma-informed, clinically-driven care for children in homeless shelters. The START with Kids intervention includes: 1) comprehensive child assessments to examine potential needs across a range of domains; 2) child-specific service plans to address the needs of children in shelter; and 3) Strengthening Family Coping Resources, a family group intervention designed to support the family unit by building safety, routine, and ritual. Intervention components are fully integrated into daily programming in shelters to ensure sustainability of the START with Kids model. To support shelters to fully integrate START with Kids, AIR/NCFH will provide on-going training and support around child development, assessment, and trauma-informed care and clinical consultation to assist frontline staff to implement intervention components. The project will use a quasi-experimental design with comparison and treatment shelters. Child-level outcomes will be measured via caregiver interviews conducted as part of the national evaluation. START with Kids is designed to enhance the capacity of homeless service providers to assess, refer and support the children in their programs, expand collaboration between the shelters and the community, and promote best practices for serving children within the homeless service system in Worcester and beyond.