The CCPO will do so by addressing trending issues that stand in the way of a healthy resilient community through new programs that will come in the form of a series of federal grants totaling $1.8 million.
The most robust of the grants, $1 million, is called Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence. The CCPO will lead a county-wide initiative to develop therapeutic & non-therapeutic supports for children exposed to violence. The county will become a trauma- informed community which supports the expansion of existing trauma interventions like Youth TIP/Handle With Care.
The project will
• maximize a law enforcement led protocol, called Youth TIP (Handle with Care) to reduce youth trauma and victimization.
• further reduce the incidence of juvenile violence by maximizing the benefits of the Stationhouse Adjustment diversion program.
• increase protective factors through programs like Life Skills Clubs such as: C5 Youth Employment/Job Readiness and summer Play Streets prevention programs.
The CCPO will hire a Youth TIP and Trauma Prevention Coordinator to organize, expand and design therapeutic & non-therapeutic services to address the needs of children who have been exposed to violence. This will include access to youth mental health services through the Child Advocacy Center.
Another grant in the amount of nearly $500,000 is the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Programs for Youth. The CCPO will utilize data, intelligence and violence epidemiology to identify the youth most at-risk of becoming involved with gangs. The CCPO will convene cross- sector stakeholder working group called YouthStat to provide wraparound, holistic resources and support to the youth and his or her family.
At risk youth and their families will be offered life skills training and pro- social opportunities such as field trips, recreational activities, mentorship and more. Case plans will be formulated for each youth. Each plan will include a needs assessment providing space for stakeholder collaboration to provide services in areas such as basic needs (housing, food, clothing, transportation), mental health and substance abuse treatment, workforce development and education.
Next $210,447 has been awarded to prevent school violence through mapping and tip alerts. This initiative will provide the funds to map the physical layout of up to 44 schools within the community. This school mapping technology will be used by first responders to respond to school safety and threat concerns including active shooter situations.
Schools throughout Cumberland County will be provided with access to an anonymous school tip line. Designated school personnel will be able to directly handle and investigate anonymous tips such as bullying and other school safety issues. School personnel will be able to quickly refer appropriate threats needing immediate attention (such as active shooter threats and weapons in school) to law enforcement personnel.
And a $135,000 grant will be used to expedite juvenile cases by leveraging technology. Funding will allow the CCPO to leverage information technology to better manage and track caseloads as well as reduce case processing times within the Juvenile/ Domestic Violence Unit.
According to CCPO officials, this will reduce case processing times and minimize the traumatic impact that case processing delays have on justice involved youth and will ensure swift resolution of domestic violence cases. Juvenile justice is most effective when it responds quickly to delinquent behavior and reduces the time youth are removed from school and their families in the instance of youth who are detained pre- adjudication. Responses to Domestic Violence are most effective when both defendants and victims have to respond to minimal court appearances and see a swift disposition of their matters.
“We are very excited to be announcing these initiatives which will move the ball forward towards re-imagining what justice and public safety looks like in our community,” Webb-McRae said. “Everyone wins when we work on strategies that keep kids physically safe and emotionally healthy.”
“The CCPO’s motto is ‘Serve. Protect. Educate. Empower.’ The grants that were announced (Feb. 2) will go a long way in helping the CCPO continue to serve a community and live up to this motto,” added state Sen. President Steve Sweeney. “These grants also provide a critical advantage and opportunity for the CCPO to provide programs and strategies that will benefit the vitality and quality of life in the community.”