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RGV Protects: A regional violence prevention and response program in the Texas Rio Grande Valley

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $1,015,160)

This program aligns with the Department’s priorities to combat victimization and reduce violent crime. Funding under the Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence can be used to develop support services for children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities; and to develop, enhance, and implement violent crime reduction strategies that focus on violent juvenile offenders. This program development and resource allocation decision by interested applicants should be based on currently available resources to the jurisdiction and gaps in services. This program is authorized by 34 U.S.C. 11171-11172; Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-93; 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.

BCFS Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Protects, a community collaborative to prevent violent crime, coordinate intervention, and hold offenders accountable in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. RGV Protects will target three populations: (1) youth survivors of gang violence and their families, (2) middle school students and their families, and (3) the general public.

The three primary goals of the project are:(1) Accountability: Reduce violence through accountability for juvenile offenders; (2) Victim Response: Coordinate and enhance victim services; (3) Prevent juvenile violence, delinquency, and victimization. RGV Protects will develop and coordinate a regional planning team, which will conduct and respond to a regional needs assessment, develop regional care coordination and data-sharing protocols, and participate in training to enhance the cooperation between service providers and law enforcement. In addition, it will operate direct services for youth survivors of gang violence. The protocols will leverage resources and streamline community response. The planning team will collaborate on outreach. RGV Protects will also implement evidence-based violence prevention education in targeted underserved middle schools. The curriculum will include family strengthening material to strengthen child resiliency both in school and at home.

BCFS HHS has secured formalized partnerships with 14 law enforcement, victim service, education, mental and medical health, and juvenile justice agencies from across the region for this project, each of whom will sit on the planning team. Anticipated deliverables include 40 child survivors of gang violence served, 300 students provided prevention education, 1,500 collective hours of partner training, care coordination protocols, a regional needs assessment and action plan, and baseline and post intervention measures completed in communities and schools.

Outcomes include the filling of service gaps, an increased number of survivors identified, increased family resilience, reduced violence perpetration and victimization among students, and increased community help-seeking. CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2020