Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $425,000)
The Reducing Risk for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System supports girls who are involved in the juvenile justice system. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-93;133 Stat. 2317, 2410. Change Happens' VOICES project is an evidence-based wraparound model. VOICES will address girls that are exposed to the juvenile justice system for nonviolent and minor offenses, which often cover up deeper issues such as victimization, sex trafficking, drug use, and mental health challenges. This project will target justice-involved girls (JIGs) age 18 and younger who are arrested or referred for intake to the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD). The identified youth will be girls under probation supervision by HCJPD, which may include in-home community supervision or out-of-home residential placements, the specialty courts, the TRIAD sex trafficking continuum, or community reentry agencies and alternative schools. The goal of the VOICES project is to reduce risks and address the underlying needs of girls involved in the juvenile justice system. The wraparound model with a collaborative system of care is divided into three categories: direct services intervention (group), direct services intervention (individual), and systems-level intervention spearheaded by the advisory council consisting of representatives from multiple agencies partaking in this collaborative model of change. This project will be guided by documented research, the validated risk assessment tool (PACT), and focus groups from multiple sources to better understand the needs of JIGs. The collaborative model of change is built upon strong networks, and its main strategy is to drive systemic change in the management of JIGs. Change Happens is well-positioned in the community to drive social change and develop a strong collaborative model. They have a documented history of working with HCJPD and community partners who will be represented on the advisory council. The applicant anticipates that by September 30, 2023, there will be an 80-percent reduction in risk of JIGs, better reentry success, reduced recidivism, better clinical outcomes, and employment/education through a gender-responsive program. The applicant has an MOU with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. CA/NCF.