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Responding to Child Abuse

Description

Overview

Child abuse can have lifelong consequences that last well into adulthood. However, the psychological toll on victims and families can be mitigated with evidence-based, trauma-informed care from experienced multidisciplinary teams. OJJDP funds projects, programs and training that are critical to the intervention and investigation of child abuse and neglect cases.

In fiscal year 2019, there were an estimated 1,840 deaths from child abuse or neglect and approximately 656,000 victims nationwide, according to the Child Maltreatment 2019 report from the Children's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

Programs and Funding

Victims of Child Abuse Act Program

OJJDP's Victims of Child Abuse (VOCA) Act program works to improve the lives of those affected by maximizing the impact of victim services and ensuring professionals have access to effective and innovative training.

In fiscal year 2020, the Office awarded $39.8 million in projects and training for the VOCA program. OJJDP supports these initiatives under the program:

  • Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs)
  • Alaska and Tribal Children's Advocacy Centers Expansion
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL)
  • Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel

OJJDP's VOCA Partners

  • National Children’s Alliance
  • Regional Children's Advocacy Centers:
    • Northeast Region: Philadelphia’s Children’s Alliance
    • Southern Region: National Children’s Advocacy Center
    • Midwest Region: Children’s Hospital of Minnesota
    • Western Region: Rady’s Children’s Center
  • Training and Technical Assistance for Child Abuse Professionals: National Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Training and Technical Assistance for Child Abuse Prosecutors: Zero Abuse Project
  • National Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem Association
  • National Center for Juvenile and Family

Children's Advocacy Centers

In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded $23.3 million to CACs and related programs. CACs coordinate the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse cases using multidisciplinary, trauma-informed teams of professionals from child protective and victim advocacy services, law enforcement and prosecution, and the medical and mental health fields.

There are four regional centers Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Center, Northeast Regional Children's Advocacy Center, Southern Regional Children's Advocacy Center and the Western Regional Children's Advocacy Center. These four centers provide training and technical assistance to CACs and state chapters in each of the region that are tailored to the needs of their region.

National Children's Alliance

The National Children's Alliance oversees accreditation, advocacy, membership, national leadership and quality assurance to the network of 924 CACs. The Alliance also provides training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to communities that are planning, establishing, or improving local centers.

Alaska and Tribal Children's Advocacy Centers Expansion

OJJDP is working to expand the coverage and capacity of CACs in Alaska and Indian country as part of the American Indian and Alaska Native Children's Advocacy Centers Expansion program to improve the investigation of child abuse cases and treatment for children and their families in tribal and Alaska native communities. In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded $14.3 million to support the expansion effort through the following initiatives:

Court Appointed Special Advocates

Court appointed special advocates are volunteers trained to serve as fact finders, monitors, and facilitators for children who have been abused, neglected or are at risk of victimization.

In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded $10.8 million to the National CASA Association to expand the national membership and accreditation program for state and local CASA Programs and make available training and technical assistance to support new and existing state and local CASA programs across the nation under the CASA Membership and Accreditation Program and Training and Technical Assistance project.

In FY 2020, trained volunteers from about 950 CASA programs served abused and neglected children in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel

In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded $3.1 million to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to provide training and technical assistance to judicial, legal and social service professionals to improve their understanding of and response to cases of child abuse and neglect.

The Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel project trains judicial, legal and social service professionals to improve their response in child abuse and neglect cases. It also teaches practitioners how to coordinate information and services across the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

OJJDP continues their efforts to support intervention and investigation of child abuse cases. Through evidence-based training by their network of training and technical assistance providers and funding for programs to assist multidisciplinary teams, the Office strives for positive outcomes for victims and their families. 

Resources

OJJDP Resources:

Additional Resources: