International Children’s Day, observed in the United States on Sunday, June 10th, is dedicated to raising awareness about children’s welfare and wellbeing and working together to address the challenges children face. Unfortunately, some of these challenges include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and even stalking.
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) administers youth-focused grants funded through the Consolidated Grant Program to Address Children and Youth Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Assault and Engage Men and Boys (Consolidated Youth Program), which focuses on enhancing resources, services, and advocacy for child and youth victims. The program also works to prevent violence before it ever starts. Grantees who are a part of OVW’s Consolidated Youth Program have been making great strides in improving support services, outreach and advocacy capabilities to benefit children and teens.
One such grantee, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, used OVW funds to expand its Flourishing Child Program, which is a partnership between Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Head Start, Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, and mental health partners. The program increases case management to children and families Head Start Programs and access to trauma-informed therapeutic interventions to the siblings of Head Start children who have been exposed to gender-based violence.
Other grantees supported by the Consolidated Youth Program partner with drop-in centers for homeless youth. Through these partnerships, staff are trained to assess youth who may have been impacted by domestic or sexual violence and to connect them with resources to assist healing and recovery. For example, several grantees place victim advocates or mental health counselors in the drop-in centers to increase access and build trust between the homeless youth and the service providers.
In addition, many grantees use fun and engaging activities to teach children in school classes and community and youth centers about healthy relationships. A middle school class in King County, Washington, a project partner with Consolidated Youth Program grantee King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, created comic strips demonstrating unhealthy and healthy relationships. This innovative project helped the teens think about these important issues in a fun and age-appropriate way.
Please join OVW in honoring International Children’s Day and work within your communities to prevent child maltreatment and increase support for young people who have been victims of violence.
For more information about the Consolidated Youth Program, visit the OVW Grant Programs page. If you know of a situation where a child is experiencing abuse, visit the OVW Local Resources page to find help near you.