question archive Table of Contents I

Table of Contents I

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Table of Contents I. Description of the Issue 1 i. Nature and Scope of the Problem 1 ii. Target Population 8 iii. Previous or Current Attempts to Address the Problem 9 iv. Current Gaps in Programming/Services 11 v. Research and Evaluation Studies Related to the Problem 13 II. Program Design and Implementation 15 i. Description of Program Operation 15 ii. Strategies to Achieve Program Goals and Objectives 16 i. Children and Parent Services 17 ii. Teen Services 20 iii. Parent Services 21 iv. Awareness Campaign 25 iii. Leveraged Resources 27 iv. Sustainability Plan 27 III. Capabilities and Competencies 28 i. Organization’s Experience and Capabilities 28 ii. Previous Experience Implementing Projects of Similar Design and Magnitude 30 iii. System for Fiscal Accountability 32 iv. Management and Staffing — Roles and Responsibilities and Organizational Structure. 33 v. Planning Team 37 IV. Data Collection Plan 38 i. Process to Measure Project Performance 38 ii. Process to Report Data 38




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I. Description of the Issue

i. Nature and Scope of the Problem

Sadly, children of all ages are exposed to violence. Violence of all sorts has become far too common in the United States and the District of Columbia (referred to as the District hereafter) is no different. Children in the District are exposed to violence at excessive levels in their homes, schools, and communities. Such exposure has multiple long-term effects that can last well into adulthood. This includes the perpetuation of violence and significant physical, mental, and emotional damage.

Results from the 2015 National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) indicate that in total, 37.3% of youth (0 to 17 years) experienced a physical assault and 9.3% of youth experienced an assault-related injury in the study year. Overall, 15.2% of children and youth experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, of which 5.0% experienced physical abuse. In total, 5.8% witnessed an assault between parents.[footnoteRef:1] [1: Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. (2015). Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse. JAMA Pediatrics, 169(8), 746-754. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676 (CV 331)]

According to the DC Coalition, 39% of women have reported physical assault, sexual assault, or stalking by a current or former intimate partner. In 2017, a study that included all 12 DC-based domestic violence (DV) programs report that they serve up to 616 victims in one day, answered up to 92 hotline calls in a day, and 418 adult and child victims of DV found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local DV programs. Children are susceptible to seeing and hearing violent encounters between partners, especially in low-income households where there is limited space in the living quarters.

In the District, over 20% of our children (21.3%) have been exposed to an adverse childhood experience,[footnoteRef:2] including an estimated 9.0% who have been a victim of or witness to neighborhood violence.[footnoteRef:3] According to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of the D. C., the number of homicides increased to 166 in 2019, up by 4% over the previous year. Homicides in the District rose for the third consecutive year in 2020, reaching nearly 200 (198), making 2020 the deadliest for the District since 2004. More than 920 people were shot in the District in 2020, a 64% increase from three years ago. By June 4, 2021, the number of homicides was 22% higher than that of June 4, 2020 (65 in 2020 compared to 79 in 2021). According to the Washington Post, the 165th homicide victim in 2020 was 16-year-old Kareem Palmer, who had plans to graduate from Eastern Senior High School and become the first of his siblings to attend college, a little boy was fatally shot at a “stop the violence” cookout, and a toddler was killed by gunfire as he was strapped in a car seat. These are snippets of evidence that our children are dangerously exposed to violence. [2: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.] [3: 2019 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) data.]

Schools should be a safe and enriching environment in which our children can learn, but it has become a place of dread and fear for many children living in the District. The frequency of gun violence near schools in the District has put students in danger while walking to and from school and while in school. For example, in 2019 in the daylight hours of a Wednesday afternoon, a 33-year-old man was shot and killed in the southeast region of the District, just a short walk from where children at Savoy Elementary School were in their afternoon classes and Hendley Elementary School, nearly a mile away, was hit by bullets twice in two weeks.

According to data gathered by the ShotSpotter gunshot detection service and analyzed by Guns & America, at least 84 schools in the District experienced one or more gunshots within 1,000 feet of their campus during the school day in the 2016-2017 school year. This does not include areas in the city with no ShotSpotter data available. Five schools in the District, all with elementary-aged students on the premises, experienced at least 10 shootings during the 2016-2017 school year. These shootings that occur near grade schools, are routine occurrences for many students in the District and considering the rise in gun violence over the past three years, these numbers are expected to be higher now.

Many of the shootings in the District are related to gang violence but gang activities expose children to violence in more ways than shootings. Gang members are humans with parents, siblings, and other family members just like anyone else. Often, it is a parent (mostly the father) and/or older siblings in a family that first engage in gang activities. Because of the family’s affiliation, the natural next occurrence is socialization of younger family members.

Socialization is the process of internalizing the norms and ideologies of a society (in this case the home/family). It is the process by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of a society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching (mostly nonverbal) and is therefore how social and cultural continuity are achieved. The presence of a parent or an older sibling who is gang-involved in the home creates an environment for the socialization of a younger child to the same lifestyle. As well, it creates the opportunity for children to be repeatedly exposed to violence by means of the death or injury of loved ones or individuals they know through their gang-involved family members. Many of these children experience the injury or death of an older sibling, their father, or other relatives far too often.

In addition to the natural process of socialization in the home, siblings of known gang members are at high risk of being exposed to violence and being drawn into gang involvement. Research done by the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa shows that siblings as young as six have been found to demonstrate anti-social behaviors that point to risk factors for gang membership. The study also shows that for 12 to 17-year-olds, being the sibling of a gang member is a risk factor for gang involvement. Younger siblings of gang members are often recruited as active members and are often being used to conceal weapons and deliver and deal drugs. Without controversy, family involvement in gang activity increases the risk for gang membership in younger children.

There are several reasons younger children choose to follow the same path as their gang-involved family members or older siblings, including: feeling obligated to carry on in an older sibling’s footsteps, feeling that gang membership is inevitable due to being associated with the gang activities of a sibling, a desire to emulate older siblings (especially brothers), the normalization of gang activity at home, and a desire to lead the “glamourous” gang lifestyle of older siblings. It is undoubtedly harmful to younger siblings when they identify with or aspire to be like their older gang-involved siblings. In fact, being associated with gangs in any way is harmful to children despite how they got involved. Female siblings of gang members are at high risk for sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, and abuse. Young males (and females) are at high risk of incarceration, injury, and early death.

The proposed For Our Children program will address the needs and risk factors — at the family/home, school, and community levels — of children living in the District who are between 9 and 15 years and are exposed to violence of all sorts. Risk factors can be defined as life events or experiences that are associated with an increase in problem behaviors, such as drug use or gang activities. For example, being the child of a single parent who is often absent from the home and lacks adequate support, can be considered a risk factor. This could put children within the ready reach of the negative influences of another child or an adult who is already gang-involved, or because they are unsupervised, they could find themselves in locations where violence will likely occur or where they are subjected to predators.

The households that the proposed For Our Children program will target is predominantly headed by single women. All households will be low-income, most of the heads of households will have low education, most will be unemployed, most will have survived or are currently experiencing partner abuse, and most will be experiencing multi-generation gang involvement and prior incarcerations. Additionally, most will live in communities where the children are at high risk of directly or vicarious experiencing community violence at or around their schools or in their communities. Added risk factors that will mark these families include poor parental supervision, family disorganization, including broken homes and parental drug and/or alcohol addiction, family violence, lack of adult and parental role models, parental criminality, parents with violent attitudes, siblings with anti-social behaviors, and extreme economic deprivation.

Unemployment is an empirically founded risk factor and a significant predictor of community and family violence, especially intimate partner violence[footnoteRef:4]. Job loss and ongoing financial stress are positive correlates of domestic violence, irrespective of whether it is the perpetrator or victim whose job is lost. Both income stress and an increase in time spent together seem to contribute to this. The target population will likely have long-term, deeply entrenched financial stress that puts them at risk for increased and ongoing domestic violence. [4: D. M. Capaldi, N. B. Knoble, J. Wu Shortt, and H. K. Kim. A Systematic Review of Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence. Partner Abuse. 2012 Apr; 3(2): 231–280.]

Family violence and the lack of parental supervision, order or structure in the home create a litany of problems for children. First, the children do not learn how to respect authority. Second, they have an unmet need for recognition and belonging and almost always seek to meet these needs through unhealthy and sometimes means. Third, they will seek to get away from the chaos in their homes to anything but that, which often lands them in the hands of child predators who are seeking children to help them carry out crimes or to be victims of the predators’ own sadistic acts that meet their own deviant needs. Authorities say it is becoming common for grade-school children to join gangs. Sadly, sometimes it is their own older gang-involved siblings that recruit them into gangs.

Considering the negative home environment of these children, they often lack a sense of identity, self-esteem, and unprotected, and they are often angry due to the victimization they have suffered. Consequently, the violence in the children’s homes bleeds into the streets by way of the children’s gang involvement and eventual gang related crimes.

The For Our Children program will address the needs of children who are directly and indirectly exposed to violence in their homes, at or near their schools, and in their communities. Specifically, the program will address the primary and secondary trauma elicited by exposure to violence, offer services to the children and families to reduce the children’s risk and actual exposure to violence, and offer services to lessen the impact of being exposed to violence. We will work with the heads of households to put protective factors in place to prevent children from further exposure to violence.

Effects of the Problem on the Target Population and the Larger Community

Our “fight or flight” response to danger, stress, and traumatic events is normal and adaptive; it is an important reaction to threats that increases our chances of survival. But with repeated exposure to trauma, as in the case of recurring community and family violence, this natural response becomes overactive, with the brain on constant alert. This state of prolonged agitation, sometimes referred to as toxic stress, can contribute to severe physical and mental health problems later in adulthood.[footnoteRef:5] Research shows that chronic exposure to traumatic events can change how our brain functions, negatively impacting multiple aspects of our daily lives: how we learn, make decisions, process and regulate emotions, and interact with others. [5: Shonkoff, J. P., Boyce, W. T., & McEwen, B. S. (2009). Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities: building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. JAMA, 301(21), 2252-2259.]

Trauma can also influence children’s social-emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. Children exposed to violence can experience ongoing mental health challenges that disrupt their everyday school lives. They can become less engaged in and happy at school.[footnoteRef:6] Furthermore, these children are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression,[footnoteRef:7] which, in an educational context, can negatively affect their relationships with peers and teachers and their adjustment to the school environment.[footnoteRef:8] Because connectedness to school is a key factor in academic performance, unaddressed traumatic stress can dramatically reduce children’s academic achievement over time, which may impact their well-being and success in life.[footnoteRef:9] [6: Borofsky, L. A., Kellerman, I., Baucom, B., Oliver, P. H., & Margolin, G. (2013). Community violence exposure and adolescents’ school engagement and academic achievement over time. Psychology of violence, 3(4), 381–395. doi:10.1037/a0034121] [7: McDonald, C. C., & Richmond, T. R. (2008). The relationship between community violence exposure and mental health symptoms in urban adolescents. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 15(10), 833-849.] [8: McGill, T., Self-Brown, S. R., Lai, B. S., Cowart, M., Tiwari, A., LeBlanc, M., & Kelley, M. L. (2014). Effects of exposure to community violence and family violence on school functioning problems among urban youth: The potential mediating role of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Frontiers in public health, 2, 8.] [9: Lynch, M. (2003). Consequences of children’s exposure to community violence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 6(4), 265-274.]

Trauma changes our brain, our body, and how we interact with and react to the world and people around us. Trauma symptoms may look like a lot of different things in children — for example, “acting out,” disruptive behaviors, withdrawal from social life, or fidgeting in class — so most teachers may not even realize that a student is struggling with traumatic stress. Similarly, most parents may not link their children’s acting out behaviors with the violence to which they are repeatedly exposed.

Community violence is a common example of childhood adversity, which is a broad umbrella term for a range of circumstances that pose a serious threat to a child’s behavioral and mental well-being.[footnoteRef:10] Community violence often happens without warning, which can cause feelings of sudden, horrifying shock and loss of control and safety. It involves intentional acts to harm others, which can lead to feelings of extreme mistrust of others and powerlessness. [10: Exposure to community violence as a new adverse childhood experience category: Promising results and future considerations. Families in society, 98(1), 69-78.]

Family violence such as partner or child abuse creates an unsafe home. A person’s home, if nowhere else, should be the place they feel safe. Children who are exposed to any form of violence in the home, are deprived of this basic right. This unsafety drives the children into the community as they seek safety in the streets and from/among the wrong people.

ii. Target Population

The For Our Children program will serve children residing in the District who are between nine and 15 years old. Serving children as young as nine will allow us to address at an early stage, the primary and secondary trauma that the children are experiencing. All children will be members of low-income households. The program will serve the parents of these children as well.

The population served by this program will be mostly individuals of African American and Hispanic descent and their employment outlook is bleak even as unemployment rates decline. In general, African American–Caucasian employment gaps widened and Hispanic–Caucasian gaps persisted as unemployment rates dropped. According to the Economic Policy Institute, at the end of quarter 3 in 2020, the unemployment rate for Caucasians was 3.5% and 15.6% for African Americans, 446% higher than Caucasians.

We will serve 60 children each year, for a total of 180 children over the three-year implementation. We anticipate that at least 70% (169) of the parents of the children in the program will fully participate in the program.

iii. Previous or Current Attempts to Address the Problem

CSC implements three programs each year that serves a population in which children are sometimes exposed to violence of varying sorts and at varying degrees.

The first is the Community-Based Child Well-Being Services program that we offer under contract with the Child and Family Service Agency (CFSA). CSC has been providing these services since its inception in 1996. The target areas for these services are Wards 1 and 2 in the District. Services are provided to reduce family risk factors and to support the families in preventing out-of-home child placements. The type of violence to which we often see children in households served by this program exposed to include physical abuse, violence in the community (gun, gang, robberies, etc.), child physical and sexual abuse, and DV. The services we offer to address these needs are relocation when necessary, Family Group Conferences to devise a family-led plan to address the issue, intensive case management that is directed at the issues pertaining to violence occurrence and exposure, and referrals.

Second, with funding from Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG), CSC has been offering truancy prevention services to families in elementary and middle schools in Wards 1, 5, 7, 8 since 2001 and have served up to 13 schools and well over 100 families in a year. We offer multi-tiered, individualized services that address the factors contributing to school truancy. With the understanding that truancy is but a symptom of the problem, our services get to the core of the issues that lead to truancy, and we find that violence and disarray in the homes are directly associated with school truancy. The type of violence to which the children in this program are often exposed include domestic and community violence, pressure to join gangs, and robbery. The services we offer to address these concerns are safety planning, after school activities, relocation support, intensive cases management services for violence interventions, and referrals.

Third, under contract with The Community Partnership for Prevention of Homelessness (TCP), CSC has successfully provided Family Rehousing Stabilization Program (FRSP), that provides case management services to prevent homelessness among District-resident families for the past 23 years (since 1998). The families served by this program are formerly homeless families that need resources and stability to maintain newly acquired housing. Like school truancy, homelessness is the result of an amalgamation of risk factors and DV, and other forms of violence within the homes are direct correlates of homelessness. The type of violence that the children in the households served by this program are often exposed to include those related to substance abuse in the community and in the homes, high crime in the communities, and DV.

To address the problem, we help the parents maintain housing by referring them to and supporting them through workforce development and help bring structure into their homes by introducing parenting education and support. Also, we provide mental health counseling, refer clients who have been exposed to DV or are victims of a violent crime to DC Safe and DC Crime Victims Compensation Program, enroll children in summer camps, collaborate with school administrators to address the educational needs of the children, and complete safety planning as well as conduct client safety checks with the clients. Additionally, we refer families who are battling with substance abuse to Addiction Prevention & Recovery Administration as well as D. C. Department of Behavioral Health for extensive mental health treatment.

Concerning exposure to violence in schools, CSC has been providing school-based violence education/prevention programming in two partner schools — Cardozo and Columbia Heights Education Campus — since 2002. Both schools are in the same Ward where CSC’s headquarters is located. In any given fiscal year, CSC is always providing either gang prevention/intervention, Soccer Diversion Program, parent support groups for teen parents and/or life skills / self-development sessions for high-risk students. The principal and administrators of both schools know and do use CSC as a resource when there are apparent or impending outbreaks of youth gang violence in their schools. Currently both schools are partner sites for our gang prevention programs.

To address community violence, CSC provides a full range of gang violence programs — intervention, suppression, and prevention. The gang suppression and intervention programs serve youths under 18 years and the gang prevention program serves youths and adults; however, these programs are limited to residents of Wards 1 through 5 and we are already seeing more clients than there are resources to respond to the need.

These programs provide community/street outreach with substantial presence in the community, case management, life skills training, workforce development, mediations and peacemaking retreats, violence interception and interruption, Critical Incident Protocols, and referrals to and enrollment in other services and supports. Critical Incident Meetings are held within 24 hours of a homicide or serious incident. Community-based “Cool Down” activities are held to help communities heal from violence and build collective efficacy. All programs are provided in a trauma-informed environment and trauma-informed sessions are offered in a group setting on a quarterly basis. These sessions teach the participants how to recognize and respond to trauma in a healthy manner.

iv. Current Gaps in Programming/Services

The programs in the District that offer services for high-risk youths aged 6 to 18 years have made tremendous attempts to reach children and youths who are exposed to and engaged in violence. However, most programs do not offer the services needed to help youths with complicated behavioral issues, and this is primarily due to inadequate funding (Urban Institute, 2015). Others do not provide the full array of services needed. For example, to improve situations for the children, the parents must also be served so that the home environment can improve and provide a nurturing place for the development of the children.

An example of a program with very good youth services but little to nothing for the parents is the Youth Services Center (YSC) is detention center for male and female youths of ages 6 to18 years. YSC offers 24-hour care, supervision, and custody for youths detained as ordered by the DC Family Court Division or DC Superior Court. The youths receive counseling, educational services, and mentoring while detained, as well as are engaged in physical fitness and other creative arts programs (DC. gov. n.d.). The program encourages family involvement and provides frequent family visitation opportunities but there is no record of services being offered to the families to which most of these children will return.

There is a gap in service within CSC as well, and this program would help meet that need. CSC implements three violence prevention/intervention programs — two are youth-focused and the other serves youths and adults. While the programs seek to prevent and stop youth violence, they are not focused on the effects of exposure to violence. At most, we provide education on and support around trauma care, but this does not adequately address the damage that can result from exposure to violence. Furthermore, the children in the households of adult participants of the program do not receive any services. Furthermore, it should also be noted that these programs have a narrow focus, and concentrate solely on gang violence. Children in these households are exposed to all sorts of violence but their needs are not addressed.

Other programs that CSC implements that serve families with children who are exposed to violence are the Community-based Child Well-being, Truancy Prevention, and FRSP programs. We assess and address the needs of the children but due to limited resources and because the programs are mainly focused on the parents, the response is limited. Children in these households that are exposed to DV, have suffered the loss of siblings and family members due to gun violence, have experienced sexual abuse, and other forms of violence are in dire need of intensive personalized attention, but these children do not receive that level of care.

v. Research and Evaluation Studies Related to the Problem

Community violence is recognized as a major public health problem (WHO, World Report on Violence and Health,2002) that Americans increasingly understand has adverse implications beyond inner cities. However, most of the research on chronic community violence exposure focuses on ethnic minority, impoverished, and/or crime-ridden communities while treatment and prevention focus on the perpetrators of the violence, not on the youth who are its direct or indirect victims. Cooley-Strickland, et. al (2009) conducted a study to better understand the impact of children’s chronic exposure to community violence on their emotional, behavioral, substance use, and academic functioning. The findings show that the public health impact of living in violent communities is significant, particularly for children. Among the emotional, behavioral and academic achievement correlates are anxiety, depression, disruptive and aggressive behavior, substance use, school disengagement, and academic failure which may have profound effects on children’s development from early childhood into adolescence and beyond.[footnoteRef:11] Copeland-Linder et. al (2010) also found that communities of predominantly African American adolescents with high community violence exposure report having the lowest self-worth when compared with their counterparts with less exposure to community violence.[footnoteRef:12] [11: M. Cooley-Strickland, T. Quille, R. Griffin, E. Stuart, C. Bradshaw, and D. Furr-Holden. Community Violence and Youth: Affect, Behavior, Substance Use, and Academics. Clinical Child Family Psychology Review. 2009 June; 12(2): 127–156.] [12: N. Copeland-Linder, S. Lambert, and N. Ialongo. Community Violence, Protective Factors, and Adolescent Mental Health: A Profile Analysis. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 2010; 39(2): 176–186.]

Although research has found that urban youth are exposed to excessive levels of community violence, few studies have focused on the factors that alter the risk of exposure to violence or the processes through which youth who are exposed to community violence do better or worse. Goorman-Smith investigated the risks of exposure to community violence and their relation to violence perpetration among a sample of 263 African American and Latino male youth living in inner-city neighborhoods. The study also examined the role that family functioning plays in moderating the risk. The study found that youth from struggling families—those that consistently used poor parenting practices and had low levels of emotional cohesion—were more likely to be exposed to community violence. It also finds a relation between exposure to violence and later violence perpetration. However, youth exposed to high levels of community violence but living in families that functioned well across multiple dimensions of parenting and family relationship characteristics perpetrated less violence than similarly exposed youth from less well-functioning families.[footnoteRef:13] [13: D. Gorman-Smith, D. Henry and P. Tolan. Exposure to Community Violence and Violence Perpetration: The Protective Effects of Family Functioning. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, Volume 33, 2004 - Issue 3]

English et. al (2013) measured child behavior and health to see if they tended to be worse when DV is or has been present in a family. Further, caregiver and family characteristics as well as other case factors were examined, as possible moderators or mediators of the effects of domestic violence. Results indicate that DV has considerable indirect effects. They found a pronounced impact of DV on family functioning, the caregiver's general health and well-being, and the quality of the caregiver's interaction with the child, which in turn are significantly associated with declines of child functioning related to behavior problems and health.

The Los Angeles Times reported on a study done by a team of university-affiliated medical researchers (publisher unknown) that ranks joblessness as the top factor in gang toll in Los Anges. Of all the factors contributing to gangs and their epidemic of violence in Los Angeles, none was found to be more significant than the staggering rates of unemployment in their communities. The researchers found that employment and per capita income were more closely associated with the city’s gang homicide rate than a variety of other social, economic or other demographic factors including age, race, education or the proportion of single-family households. The study was presented at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as part of a lecture series sponsored by the California Wellness Foundation and UC.

These findings, suggest that the best hope of curbing LA’s gang killings rests with community-based economic programs that would cut away at the conditions that give rise to gangs and their violence, and it is fair to say the same would apply to any gang-ridden city such as the District. According to Dr. Demetrios N. Kyriacou, director of trauma care in the department of emergency medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, “The bottom line of our study is that of all the variables we examined, the one factor that is the most closely associated with gang homicides is unemployment, and until our society and community leaders and business sector decide they are going to approach this problem from that point of view, we really won’t be able to prevent this epidemic of gang-related homicides.”

II. Program Design and Implementation

i. Description of Program Operation

The proposed For Our Children program will offer direct services to children who are exposed to violence of all sorts and support services for the parents of the children. We expect to serve children who have been directly and vicariously exposed to community violence in and around their schools and in their communities, as well as children who are subject to violence directly and indirectly in their homes or in the homes of relatives. CSC will implement an awareness campaign about the degree to which children in the District are exposed to violence as well as the implications of such exposure. The awareness campaign will educate District residents while raising consciousness about this especially important public health issue and will inform families, schools, and service providers of this readily accessible resource.

The program goals and objectives are as follows.

Goal #1: Improve the emotional well-being of children.

1.1. 80% of participating children will report improved emotional well-being, measured by level of personal safety, anxiety, and trauma.

1.2. 75% of the children will report increased protective factors — decision-making skills, self-esteem, and sense of belonging and safety.

1.3. Goal #2: Divert children from gang involvement.

2.1. 80% of the children will demonstrate improved understanding of risks and consequences that are associated with being in a gang.

2.2. 75% of the children will make the choice to avoid gang involvement

2.3. 75% of the children will report reduced risk factors for gang involvement — antisocial behavior, mental health problems, hopelessness, trauma, and hostile and aggressive behaviors.

2.4. Goal #3: Educate parents about the warning signs of gang involvement.

3.1. On average, 70% of parents will participate in parent services — Parent education and support, case management, drug and alcohol education/prevention, and parent-child meetings in group and by family.

3.2. 80% of parents will report increased knowledge of the warning signs of gang involvement at case closure.

3.3. 80% of parents will report increased knowledge and competence in diverting their children from gang involvement.

Goal #4: Improve family functioning

4.1. On average, 70% of parents will participate in parent services — Parent education and support, workforce development, case management, parent-child meetings in group and by family, trauma-informed care, DV education and prevention, and substance abuse education and prevention.

4.2. 50% of parents will complete CSC’s workforce development program.

4.3. Of the parents who complete a workforce development program, 75% will obtain part-time or full-time employment.

4.4. Of the parents who complete the trauma-informed care training, 85% will report improved ability to recognize trauma and respond in a healthy manner.

4.5. Of the parents who complete the DV education/prevention sessions, 85% will report improved ability to recognize DV and increased awareness of its effects on children. At pre/post assessment, an increase of 80% of parents will report knowing where to seek help for them and their children should they face DV.

4.6. Of the parents with concerns about drug or alcohol use, 70% will report progression towards recovery, marked by full compliance with treatment plan for at least 4 consecutive weeks and/or abstinence from substance use for at least 4 consecutive weeks.

4.7. By case closure, overall family functioning will improve for 70% of the families.

Goal #5: Educate and raise community awareness of the public health consequences of our children being exposed to gang violence

5.1. By the end of the first 12 months of implementation the knowledge and awareness of the public health consequences of children being exposed to gang violence, as reported by a sample of community residents in the District will increase by 70% and by 80% after the second 12 months of implementation


ii. Strategies to Achieve Program Goals and Objectives

The For Our Children program will provide comprehensive services that address the needs of two subgroups — children (9 to 15 years) who are exposed to violence and the parents of the children being served by the program. The children who are exposed to violence include those who are or have been victimized directly and vicariously.

CSC will take a strength-based family-oriented approach to help parents improve their family functioning and create a healthier home environment in which the children can thrive. Services will be provided to the children to address secondary and primary trauma, their mental health needs, and their emotional well-being. A healthy emotional well-being will better position the children to make healthy choices for themselves and resist the environmental and in some cases, familial pressures to join the gang lifestyle and will be a protective factor against feeling like they do not belong and thus seek belongingness in settings and from people that are dangerous. A description of the program strategies follows.

i. Children and Parent Services

The Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows (CASASTART), formerly known as Children at Risk.) 6-12 (children) 13-17 (adolescents). The CASASTART is a community-based, substance abuse and violence prevention program. It is evidence-based and is endorsed by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is appropriate for children 6 to 12 and adolescents 13 to 17 years. Specific program objectives of CASASTART include reducing drug and alcohol use, reducing involvement in drug trafficking, decreasing associations with delinquent peers, improving school performance, and reducing violent offenses.

CASASTART’s intervention model is informed by the research literature on social learning theory, social strain theory, social control theory, and positive youth development. It is offered to achieve three goals: (1) individualized, intensive, and holistic support; (2) bi-monthly in-depth assessment with informed revisions to their ISPs; and (3) linkages to services such as transportation assistance, mental health, and substance abuse treatment, as needed. The staff will address issues as they arise but will maintain focus on creating a home environment that fosters healthy child development and little to no risk factors for exposure to any sort of violence.

The Case Manager (CM) and Substance Abuse Counselor/Educator (SACE) will work closely with personnel from criminal justice agencies, schools, and other community organizations to provide services that target high-risk children and the groups that interact with them (e.g., peer group, family, and community risk factors). Case review conferences will be held weekly — along with quarterly administrative and advisory council meetings — to ensure all partners are up to date on the program and individual case status.

Every participating child will receive all service components except for juvenile justice services if he or she is not in trouble with the law. CASASTART includes the following eight core service components: (1) Social Support and Intensive Case Management: the Case Manager will develop individualized service plans (ISP) and provide ongoing support to the youth and family, (2) Family Services: the staff will identify service needs and provide services and referrals for the children and family, (3) Education Services: the staff will refer to and enroll the children in summer learning camps and make referrals for tutoring and specialized programs; (4) Afterschool and Summer Activities: the children will participate in CSC’s recreational and cultural opportunities to facilitate positive peer group experiences; (5) Mentoring: the program will offer group mentoring to facilitate caring relationships with positive adult role models; (6) Incentives: the program will offer meaningful incentives to reinforce positive achievement and encourage participation in the program; (7) Community-Oriented Policing: the outreach teams of CSC’s current violence prevention / intervention programs will continue doing street outreach in Wards 1 through 5. The CM of this program will conduct street outreach in Wards 6 through 8. The outreach teams build relationships and trust in the communities, they stay informed of incidents of violence and impending violence through alerts from MPD and social media, and as a result, they foster safer neighborhoods; and (8) Criminal Justice Intervention: the staff will support system-involved youths and refer them to appropriate resources.

Functional Family Therapy (FFT). FFT seeks to reduce hostile interactions in families and the reentry of younger siblings and youth into dangerous situations. FFT is appropriate for children between 6 and 12 and youth between 13 and 21 years. The FFT evidence-based and is endorsed by OJJDP. It is a family-based prevention and intervention program for dysfunctional youth that has been applied successfully in a variety of multiethnic, multicultural contexts to treat a range of high-risk youth and their families. It integrates several elements (established clinical theory, empirically supported principles, and extensive clinical experience) into a clear and comprehensive clinical model. The FFT model allows for successful intervention in complex and multidimensional problems through clinical practice that is flexibly structured and culturally sensitive. The model includes specific phases: engagement/motivation, behavior change, and generalization. Engagement and motivation are achieved through decreasing the intense negativity often characteristic of high-risk families. The behavior change phase aims to reduce and eliminate the problem behaviors and accompanying family relational patterns through individualized behavior change interventions (skill training in family communication, parenting, problem-solving, and conflict management). All service staff — the CM, SACE, and Mental Health Counselor (MHC) — will use the FFT model.

Mental Health Counseling. CSC will have a MHC on staff who is dedicated to serving the children in the program. the MHC will assess the mental health of each child, provide group or individual counseling as needed, and make referrals to appropriate services that are beyond the scope of what CSC provides. As well, the MHC will provide follow-up support to make sure the parents follow through with the referrals. Additionally, the MHC will facilitate parent-child sessions, first in group settings (multiple parent-child dyads), followed by individual parent-child dyads as the need for these individual sessions become apparent.

The MHC will utilize Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) when working with the children. TF-CBT is evidenced-based and is endorsed by SAMHSA and OJJDP. The TF-CBT is appropriate for individuals between 3 and 21 years. Through TF-CBT, the MHC will offer structured, weekly conjoint child and parent psychosocial therapy for children with emotional/behavioral difficulties associated with violence exposure and trauma. Using this approach, the MHC will focus on providing a safe, trusting environment where children and parents build skills in coping, stress reduction, and management of overwhelming emotions and traumatic grief.

The core components of the TF-CBT include psychoeducation about childhood trauma, relevant violence, and post-traumatic stress disorder; parent guidance; relaxation skills individualized to each parent-child dyad; affective modulation skills adapted to each child and family; cognitive coping including connecting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the trauma; conjoint parent-child sessions to practice skills and enhance trauma-related discussions, and enhance personal safety and optimal development by providing safety and social skills training as needed.

In addition to serving the children and parents, the MHC will facilitate all trauma-informed training sessions and will work with the program staff to ensure the program meets the definition and criteria of a trauma-informed program.

ii. Teen Services

Life Skills Training (LST). LST is a school-based evidence-based program that is endorsed by SAMHSA. It serves children between 13- and 17-years-of-age. The objective of LST is violence and delinquency prevention. This school-based program aims to prevent drug and alcohol use as well as violence by targeting major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors. LST is based on both the social influence and competence enhancement models of prevention. Consistent with this theoretical framework, LST addresses multiple risk and protective factors and teaches personal and social skills that build resilience and help youth navigate developmental tasks, including the skills necessary to understand and resist pro-drug influences. LST provides information relevant to the important life transitions that adolescents and young teens face, using culturally sensitive and developmentally and age-appropriate language and content. LST will also provide information to help the teens navigate the overwhelming amounts of negative stimuli and attractions to normative behaviors and practices that will expose them to violence that are in their schools, homes, and communities.

LST will be offered at Cardozo Education Center and Columbia Heights Education Center. The goal is to serve at least 30 adolescent children each year, a total of 90. We believe it is important to offer the LST in addition to CASASTAR because the LST is a training component that will build essential skills in teenagers, the age that is most likely to become involved with behaviors that put them at risk for violence exposure. As well, the LST will teach them important navigation and resistance skills.

iii. Parent Services

The parent services in the For Our Children program will be offered by CSC’s parenting program. these services will be open to parents who are not currently being served by CSC. We predict that of the 60 children served each year, about two-thirds (n=40) will be from households not being served by CSC (120 total), and about 70% of those children's parents will fully engage in the program (28 per year, 84 total).

Parent Education and Support. Some examples of topics that the Parent Education and Support Program (PESP), will address include, but are not limited to how violence exposure affects them and their children, structure in the home, self-care, creating a safe and nurturing home environment, gang awareness, family and community risk factors for gang involvement, DV, child abuse and neglect, what children need to thrive, and the grieving process. We believe it is important to offer sessions on the grieving process because many of these parents will have lost their children, partner, siblings, or other loved ones to gang violence. The PESP sessions will be held monthly, will be facilitated by CSC’s current Parent Coordinator and Parent Educator, and will be held at CSC headquarters.

Workforce Development / Progressive Employment Readiness program (PERP). Employment and a secure source of income are essential to any household but especially so for this population. The households that the For Our Children program will serve are households that often do not have a working adult or an income stream from employment. Employment gives an individual a sense of accomplishment and achievement; it builds one’s self-esteem and sense of competence. Having stable finances contributes to a more stable life and can be a big element in self-worth. As well, employment “forces” parents to create structure in their lives so that they can attend work regularly and maintain employment and this structure often starts with the family. Most families that this program will serve currently lack structure. Having a working parent in the household will necessitate family structure.

Second, the benefits of parental employment transcend the parents. Research[footnoteRef:14] shows that parental employment help children do better in school and increase their earning power in their adult years. Parental employment can help break the cycle of poverty and the associated dysfunctions such as gang involvement. [14: Economic Security Programs Help Low-Income Children Succeed Over Long Term, Many Studies Find. Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. July 2017]

Third and more importantly, unemployment/financial deficiency is a significant predictor of family problems/dysfunctions and community/gang violence, which is the main target of the For Our Children program. For this population, unemployment is a huge risk factor for exposing children to violence and for committing violence. Therefore, this component of the For Our Children program will help reduce risk factors and support a structured home for the safety of the children. In addition, the workforce development component will boost the parents’ self-worth, which could indirectly improve their engagement with their children.

The PERP will provide job readiness training, on-the-job training, job placement, and financial planning and management and employment related strength-based case management. The PERP participants will complete 15 five-hour job readiness classes. Over a three-week period. The PERP curriculum combines units of the National Institute of Corrections’ Thinking for A Change (T4C) job readiness curriculum with the East Baltimore Pipeline Job Readiness Training Curriculum. T4C has been ranked by Crime Solutions as a promising evidence-based program. Thinking for A Change focuses on restructuring of thought, social skills development, and the development of problem-solving skills. The curriculum is specifically designed for adult returning citizens and young people in the juvenile justice system but is suitable for any under/unemployed young adult or adult population, especially those with long histories of unemployment.

The participants will complete the PERP intake, followed the administration of the in-depth Barriers to Employment Success Inventory (BESI), an assessment that helps individuals identify major barriers to obtaining a job or succeeding in their employment and the Career Aptitude Assessment Placement Test (CAAP Test), which helps the respondents figure out where their career interests lie.

Using the results from the CAAP Test, the staff will introduce (or reinforce) the concept of career pathways to each parent. The staff will guide the parents through the required steps to obtain long-term employment. The staff will also help the participants understand the financial baseline needed to achieve economic self-sufficiency and how job performance and retention can result in long-term success.

The case management received in the PERP will be focused mainly on employment and financial literacy while also supplementing the general case management the parents receive from the CM in the For Our Children program. For example, a fundamental component of the case management that will be provided by the PERP CM is financial literacy, budgeting, and money management. In addition, the PERP CM will provide ongoing support to facilitate job retention and encourage healthy work-life balance.

Through case management and the array of support the PERP offers, the participants will be re-assessed to determine if they are prepared for referral to our partner agencies for further vocational training and certification, post-secondary education, or additional support services that will assist the participant with moving towards self-sufficiency.

Throughout the class, the Instructors will collaborate closely with the For Our Children CM to ensure there is team effort in addressing te parents’ barriers to employment. The staff will work with the parents to build career planning and decision-making skills in one-on-one and group coaching sessions, review the BESI, CAAP Test, and coursework results with each parent and talk through the selection of employment pathway and a first job. The PERP Job Developer (JD) will provide coaching and demonstrate good career planning and decision-making skills through the joint development of an IEP (Individual Employment Plan) with each parent. The Instructor and Job Developer will then work with each parent to build knowledge and skills for creating a job search plan, including techniques like the Internet, classifieds, networking, and job banks. Each parent will receive training on cold calling, preparing resumes and cover letters, and filling out job applications. Mock interviews will help the parents practice interview preparation and etiquette.

CSC provides access to a computer lab that is furnished with desktop and laptop computers as well as tablets for use during the training. By the end of the class, the parents will have a full conceptual background and the online skills needed for them to be deemed Internet literate. The training will include hands-on tutorials on basic computer use, online job searches and submitting applications, and using search engines to conduct general research.

Job Placement and Unsubsidized Employment: The Job Developer is continuously building employer relationships in high demand careers and occupations such as, customer service representatives, receptionists and information clerks, food preparation and service workers, and retail sales workers. As well, the Job Developer continuously build employer relationships among the green, construction, and hospitality sectors, especially those with growth potential for low-skilled workers. Our Job Developer will meet with potential employers to find unsubsidized opportunities and receive input from employers about how to prepare participants for those positions. For the retail, customer service, and hospitality industries, the Job Developer will draw on the many employment opportunities rapidly developing throughout the District. Placements are tailored to participants based on their skills, goals, and assessment results.

iv. Awareness Campaign

CSC will do two rounds of two-week awareness campaigns each year, totaling 12 weeks. We will take a multimode approach to execute the campaigns, including social media, the agency app, email and text blasts, and videos. An example of the schedule we will follow is: Week 1 — Social Media Campaign and CSC App, Week 2 — Texts and email Blasts and videos.

We will be careful to share current statistics pertaining to children being exposed to violence in all campaigns. In addition, we will be sure to insert solutions to the problem and not just focus on the problem. The awareness campaigns will serve multiple purposes: (1) the public will be more aware of the issue, more sensitive to the issue, and be more equipped to address the issue, (2) parents living across the District will learn of this program and how to access it, (3) parents will be introduced to the negative impacts of their children being exposed to violence, (4) parents will be introduced to what they can do for their children when exposed to violence, and (5) schools and community-serving organizations across the District will learn of the program and will refer their clients to the program as needed.

We will use a variety of methods to connect with the community such as Instagram, Facebook, and other outlets to share the campaign with the public. CSC will provide powerful images along with statistics with the main goal of captivating the audience who will reshare these messages, spreading information in far-reaching ways.

The proposed approaches area follows.

Social Media Campaign and CSC App. CSC will use the theme and hashtag For Our Children (#forourchildren) for all awareness campaign approaches employed throughout the life of the program. The hashtag will help members of the community who are interested in the issue being addressed by the awareness campaign, quickly find content on our various social media platforms.

Texts and email Blasts. CSC will prepare two brief awareness messages each day of the two-week period to two different subgroups of the public. The messages will go out in text message and in email format. No one will receive both text and email in a day. The emails will contain visuals and links and will be colorful with minimal text. The text messages will be short but to the point and will contain links and appropriate emojis to convey the message.

Videos. The children will enter a competition to create a 30 to 60 second video that speaks out against children being exposed to violence. For each round of competition, we will select the top two videos to share with the public. The children will be encouraged to work in small groups. Much of the preparation for the videos will take place in their weekly instructional sessions. The videos will bear a strong visual message that aligns with the theme of the campaign.

The videos will be shared with the public on the CSC website, the agency app, and via CSC’s social media channels with targeted marketing through Facebook and Instagram.

iii. Leveraged Resources

Parenting Education and Support. CSC offers the PESP on an ongoing basis and will leverage the For Our Children program by serving the parents in the program who are not already served by CSC. PESP. PESP uses evidence-based curricula for instruction in group settings. In addition, the PESP staff routinely make adjustment to meet parents’ schedule. For example, to make sure the parents receive the guidance they need, the staff often conduct one-on-one and in-home sessions at the times that are most convenient to the parents. Parents of the proposed orogram will be referred to the PESP for education and support and the Parent Cafés for education, support, and networking opportunities.

Workforce Development. Parents of the proposed program who are not already receiving workforce development will be referred to CSC’s ongoing PERP.

Outreach Workers. CSC is currently implementing a Gang Intervention and a Gang Suppression program that serve Wards 1 to 5. The Outreach Workers assigned to these two programs will support the Outreach Worker of this program to carry out the needed street outreach activities.

Media Campaign. Staff of CSC’s communication department will support the media campaign by creating the messages, managing the website, social media platforms, and the CSC apps.

iv. Sustainability Plan

CSC will take the following measures to sustain the program: (1) make the program visible in traditional venues and in social media, including program graduates’ success stories and the role that the program played in helping young people turn their lives around and how the program has prevented children from further exposure to violence; (2) develop plans for staff turnover to safeguard the integrity of the program; (3) dialogue with similar programs on how they are garnering ongoing support; and (4) continue the development of the multidisciplinary team as a community-driven leadership body for behavioral health in Washington DC, which support sustainability by promoting community oversight and ownership of the issues the program addresses. Additionally, CSC will continue to offer the PESP and the PERP to the parents of the participating youth.

In addition, CSC will collect data that assess the implementation and impact of the program so that these results can be included in subsequent request for funding. If funders see the impact of the program, they will be more inclined to fund it. An especially important sustainability strategy that we will employ is to cultivate long-term funding from diverse sources (federal, local, and private) from the onset of the program, including inviting key city officials, state legislators, foundation program officers, and other community leaders to witness the program in action. To secure continuous support for the program, we will identify and approach local businesses as potential supporters, especially those who perceive gang-involved youths as problematic and will dialogue with other grantees across the country on how they are securing ongoing support for their program.

III. Capabilities and Competencies

i. Organization’s Experience and Capabilities

CSC has had well over 20 years of experience working with communities and families that are faced with violence of various types and to varying degrees daily. Because of the duration of time, the depth of services, and the successes that CSC has had in working with youths, young adults, families, and communities faced with violence, especially gang/gun violence, CSC is recognized as the leading agency in the District that addresses youth violence. Since 2003, CSC’s comprehensive youth violence prevention and intervention model — the nationally recognized Gang Intervention Partnership (GIP) model — has been successful in reducing violent incidents among gangs and crews in Northwest DC.

The GIP model was originally established to reduce the Latino gang-related violence concentrated in Northwest neighborhoods. Specifically, the goals of the GIP model are to reduce incidences of gang-related violence, decrease gang membership and the expansion of gangs, reduce gang-related suspensions in schools, and deter youth involvement in gangs by providing workforce development training and job placement, social and emotional support, and education enrichment activities. The program strategy included in the GIP model include intensive and targeted police work and building strong police/community partnerships, providing targeted outreach to gang-related youth and their family members, educating parents and community members, and improving and expanding access to services critical to gang diversion and family strengthening.

Other gang intervention initiatives led by CSC include:

OJJDP Youth Gang Intervention (October 2020 to present), OJJDP Youth Gang Suppression (October 2019 to present), and Violence Intervention (2018 to present). These three programs combined permit CSC to serve both youths and adults. The programs are limited to addressing gang violence and so, they provide gang prevention and intervention services to individuals who are involved with gangs and those at risk of becoming gang involved. The violence intervention teams conduct community outreach with substantial presence in the community, Critical Incident Protocol, mediations and peacemaking retreats, case management, life skills training, workforce development, and referrals to and enrollment in other services and supports.

OJJDP Community-Based Youth Violence Prevention Program (2011 and 2016): CSC offered an array of services and support programs to reduce youth and community-based violence and increase individual and family well-being. CSC offered services to redirect young people who were at risk of becoming involved with gangs toward positive programs and identified rehabilitation services for those young people already involved. Our approach included but was not limited to individualized wraparound supports for the youths; expansion of youth outreach and engagement efforts; and a focus on pre-empting and anticipating violent incidents.

Summer Youth Employment. The DC Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs (MOLA) funded CSC’s PROUrban Youth (PUY) Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) from 2002 through 2010 and funded the Safe Communities Program from 2006 to 2016. PROUrban Youth organized and sub-granted to over 20 CBOs each summer and, in 2009, placed more than 700 youth with 22 partners at 24 sites within Wards 1 and 2.

The youths served in these programs were either involved with gangs/crews or at risk of becoming involved. The program served as a means of diverting them from gang involvement, taught them negotiation skills, and built their self-confidence so that they are better equipped to deal with the surrounding pressures to become gang involved.

ii. Previous Experience Implementing Projects of Similar Design and Magnitude

Founded in 1996, CSC began as a $60,000 pilot project and has grown to a staff of over 60 employees with an annual budget of nearly $7 million. CSC has a 20-year-plus history of work in the District. Over this period we have offered a range of services to include youth violence prevention and diversion, parenting education and support, safe sleep education, workforce development, family preservation, rapid rehousing, reintegration support for returning citizens, reentry services, and truancy prevention. Our presence in the community, the trusting relationships we establish, and the frequency of the local events we host and attend, afford us keen awareness of the dynamics of the communities in the District that need gang intervention services most. Also, our long-term relationships with several local schools have afforded us the privilege of being a resource to the schools and have made us deeply knowledgeable of the dynamics of the various gangs and crews that exist in these schools. Finally, our close ties to government agencies and our non-profit partners keep us informed of local developments across communities.

CSC has had a contract with CFSA since 1996. CSC’s bilingual (Spanish/English) direct services focus on crisis intervention and family stabilization, largely in partnership with CFSA. Through this partnership, CSC provides direct services to more than 1,000 families in Wards 1 and 2 each year and Spanish-speaking families across the District. In FY 2019 during CSC’s involvement, 85% of the cases had no repeated report of maltreatment and 90% of the cases did not experience out-of-home care during CSC’s involvement.

OJJDP Violence Prevention Programs. Between 2011 and 2016, CSC implemented the Community-Based Youth Violence Prevention Program and is currently implementing Youth Gang Suppression (2019 to present) and Young Gang Intervention (2020 to present). CSC offers an array of services and support programs to reduce youth and community-based violence and increase individual and family well-being. CSC offers services to redirected young people who are at risk of becoming involved with gangs towards positive programs and identified rehabilitation services for those young people already involved. Our approach includes an intensive focus on networks of young people; deep partnerships between law enforcement and community entities; individualized wraparound supports for the youths; expansion of youth outreach and engagement efforts; and a focus on pre-empting and anticipating violent incidents.

Summer Youth Employment. The DC Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs (MOLA) funded CSC’s PROUrban Youth (PUY) Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) from 2002 through 2010 and funded the Safe Communities Program from 2006 to 2016. PROUrban Youth organized and sub-granted to over 20 CBOs each summer and, in 2009, placed more than 700 youth with 22 partners at 24 Ward 1 and 2 sites.

School Truancy Prevention. Since 2001, CSC has been implementing a truancy prevention program, serving middle and elementary students and their parents with annual funding of up to $615,000. CSC serves between 11 and 13 schools each year. The program serves nearly 150 students and their parents each year. The program also requires an annual summer camp geared towards chronically truant students that uses a positive youth development approach. The truancy prevention summer camp focuses on youth development and on improving academic performance and school behavior. It is customary that community violence, especially gun violence, increase noticeably during the summer months, therefore, many of these students while engaged in the truancy prevention summer camp are being kept safe from exposure to violence daily in their community and quite likely, their homes.

iii. System for Fiscal Accountability

CSC’s finance department is staffed by the Director of Finance, an accountant, and two finance assistants. Our internal control systems and accounting policies and procedures are approved by the Board of Directors and are based on general accounting standards and federal accounting standards. For the past five years, CSC received an A-133 single audit and successfully passed each year with no material weakness. CSC has managed over $700,000 in subcontracts in a given year, demonstrating our strong fiduciary capacity. In fiscal year 2020, we receive 98 percent of our funding from local and federal agencies. The remaining 2 percent came from private foundations, local businesses, and individual donors. CSC’s Director of Finance, Johnny Mammen, closely monitors income and expenditures as well as generates quarterly financial reports for all programs. All financial proceedings are conducted according to specific requirements imposed by each grant/program. In addition, CSC conducts an annual audit by an independent, third party auditor. The dollar value of the current fiscal year is over $6 million.

CSC has managed multiple large-scale grants and contracts. The largest awards were from the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), ranging from $1.2 million to over $2 million per year throughout our history. Overall, CSC has received contracts and grant funding from over a dozen sources, some of which are: The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, Department of Employment Services, DC Department of Correction, Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation, and Department of Small and Local Business Development, the DC Department of Human Services, the OJJDP, the OVSJG, and several philanthropic organizations.

iv. Management and Staffing — Roles and Responsibilities and Organizational Structure.

Organizational Structure. Executive Director, Penelope Griffith, LICSW, supported by Chief of Staff, Trinette Hawkins-Coleman, with oversight from a dedicated Board of Directors, provides leadership to the organization. The programs offered by CSC are divided into five service divisions — (1) Family Services, (2) Youth Development and Violence Prevention/Intervention, (3) Adult Reentry and Restorative Justice, (4) Workforce Development, and (5) Rapid Rehousing. Each division is headed by a Director and all programs in their respective division are staffed by a Program Manager and the required personnel. The Executive team is comprised of the Executive Director, Chief of Staff, Director of Finance, and the Director of Human Resources. Brief biographies of members of the senior management team follow.

Penelope Griffith, LICSW, Executive Director. Ms. Griffith earned her Master’s in Social Work in 1993 from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Since 2008, Ms. Griffith has served as the Executive Director of CSC.

Ms. Griffith helped establish and lead the Washington, DC Gang Intervention Partnership and the development of the multi-system Critical Incident Meeting Protocol. Through solution-focused open-ended questioning and FGCs, the DC Gang Intervention Partnership works with individual young people, families, and whole communities to keep communities safe from retaliatory violence, offers short- and long-term support to victims of youth violence and their families, re-establishes and revives family and community norms around youth violence, increases the use of Healing Circles to restore relationships between offenders and victims, and increases overall capacity to implement positive youth development strategies in underserved communities.

Trinette Hawkins-Coleman, LGSW, Chief of Staff. Mrs. Trinette- Hawkins-Coleman serves as second in command to CSC’s Executive Director, Penelope Griffith and is instrumental in maintaining daily operations, executing special projects, and managing contracts. Mrs. Hawkins- Coleman is a seasoned human service leader with over 20 years of experience in both the governmental and non-profit arena in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Serving in the capacity of various leadership roles Mrs. Hawkins-Coleman has directed and designed numerous programs and has established a credible reputation of delivering effective services and program management. Leading key housing, educational, behavioral health, juvenile prevention, emergency assistance, and child welfare initiatives throughout her career she has acquired an expertise of client relationship management, revenue growth, program development, continuous process improvement, policy and procedure development, as well as profit and loss management. Mrs. Hawkins-Coleman's abilities affords her proficiency in supporting complex business operations and enhance staff development while maintaining focus on the big picture.

Johnny Mammen, MSA, Director of Finance. Mr. Mammen oversees all the financial matters for CSC and will be the Finance Manager for the proposed program. In this role as the Director of Finance, he is responsible for fulfilling financial reporting on all contracts and monitoring account activities. As the Finance Manager for the proposed program, Mr. Mammen will oversee all financial matters, including payroll, invoicing, and reporting to OJJDP.

Mr. Mammen’s experience and expertise have been notable and influential in maintaining our mission while experiencing budget cuts. As the Director of Finance, Mr. Mammen has been able to oversee several A-133 federal audits resulting in repeated positive outcomes. He has been involved in the field of accounting for more than 25 years with experience in the management of both local and federal funding. His most valuable attributes are a tenacious attitude in accomplishing the agency’s finance-related tasks and the ability to work well with others as a member of a team. His areas of expertise are accounting and financial reporting, cost analysis, cost allocation, cash flow analysis and forecasting, budget preparation and monitoring, payroll, and benefit administration.

Brenda Chandler, Director of Human Resources. Ms. Chandler oversees all human resource activities at CSC. She has been serving as the Director of Human Resources for CSC since 2013 and has spearheaded many new initiatives to improve the quality of work environment for CSC employees since her arrival. Several initiatives spearheaded by Ms. Chandler include: the implementation of a new HR management system (Paylocity), employee training and development programs, and a new employee performance evaluation system. Prior to arriving at CSC, Ms. Chandler served as a Sr. Control Analyst for Computer Science Corporation in Washington D.C. Ms. Chandler is an active member in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is currently pursuing her SPHR certification.

Program Staff — Roles and Responsibilities. The program will be staffed with the following positions.

Community Services Director, Shakitha Chase . Ms. Chase will supervise the Program Manager and Case Manager and will oversee the implementation of the program to ensure fidelity to its design. Also, Ms. Chase will maintain and build partner relationships to secure and sustain full wraparound services for the children and their parents.

Program Manager, Anna Brown . Ms. Brown will supervise the Case Manager and work with her to coordinate various services that will best serve the participants, will ensure the daily operation of the program, and will facilitate partner relationships to publicize the program and increase its visibility throughout the District. Also, this position will work closely with the Data Collector to support complete and accurate data collection, prepare and submit all reports due to OJJDP, and schedule and facilitate all meetings with the Planning Team. In addition, the PM will work with CSC’s communications department to launch and maintain the outreach campaign for the program.

Mental Health Coordinator, TBH . The Mental Health Counselor will utilize TF-CBT to facilitate parent-child psychosocial therapy in large group settings and with parent-child dyads. In addition, the Mental Health Counselor will facilitate all trauma-informed training sessions and will support the program staff to ensure the program meets or exceeds the criteria of a trauma-informed program.

Substance Abuse Counselor/Educator, TBH . The Substance Abuse Counselor/Educator will facilitate all substance abuse/education sessions — in individual and group settings — with the youth and parents with such needs. As well, this position will conduct individual substance use assessments and make referrals as needed. The position will provide concentrated support to all participants that receive a referral to ensure they have accessed the services and are complying fully. Two mandatory criteria for this position are (1) English-Spanish bilingual and (2) experience working with individuals and families of Hispanic descent in a similar role.

Case Manager, Krina Martinez . The Case Manager will utilize the CASASTART (Striving

Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows, formerly known as Children at Risk) model to serve the children and parents. The Case Manager will complete the intake and assessment of all participants, team with the MHC and SACE to jointly create an ISP with all age-eligible participants, and provide intensive personalized guidance and support for the participants to achieve their goals. As well, the Casse Manager will make referrals to services that are beyond the scope of CSC ad will provide follow-up support to ensure the participants have accessed and are utilizing the services. Ms. Martinez is of Hispanic descent. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has several years working as a Case Manager with African American and Hispanic individuals and families.

v. Planning Team

CSC’s For Our Children program will include a unique multidisciplinary team composed of law enforcement, community organizations, the private sector, and city agencies to address the issue of children being exposed to violence. The Team will be the same that serves the current Youth Gang Suppression and Youth Gang Intervention programs. Currently the Team has ?? members representing the following agencies: ??.

The Team will meet regularly throughout the project period to identify and address areas of need that are not being met and barriers to accessing existing services. As well, the Team will create a blueprint for a comprehensive network of services for children exposed to violence and their families and will be instrumental in building the capacity of the targeted communities to help children exposed to violence; and prevent/reduce juvenile violent crime. More detail on the multidisciplinary team is presented in the appendices.

IV. Data Collection Plan

i. Process to Measure Project Performance

The table below depicts the data that will be collected to assess each program objective, how the data will be collected, who will collect the data, and the schedule on which the data will be collected.

Program Objectives

Data Collection Procedures

Data Collector

Data Collection Schedule

Goal #1: Improve the emotional well-being of children.

Improved emotional well-being

Administer the Youth Well-Being Survey individually and in person.

Case Manager and SACE.

At intake and case closure.

Increased protective factors.




Goal #2: Divert children from gang involvement.

Improved understanding of risks and consequences that are associated with being in a gang.

Administer the Gang Awareness and Prevention Survey (for children) in group settings.

Case Manager and SACE

At start and end of the Phoenix curriculum.

Decision to avoid gang involvement.




Reduced risk factors for gang involvement.




Goal #3: Educate parents about the warning signs of gang involvement.

Increased knowledge of the warning signs of gang involvement at case closure.

Administer the Gang Awareness Survey (for parents) individually and in person.

Case Manager and SACE

At intake and case closure.

Increased knowledge and competence in diverting their children from gang involvement.




Goal #4: Improve family functioning

Parent attendance to CSC’s workforce development program.

Attendance records.

WFD instructor


Acquisition of part-time or full-time employment.

Case Management notes, job offer letters, pay stubs.

Job Developer


Improved ability to recognize trauma and respond in a healthy manner.

Administer the Trauma Knowledge and Awareness Survey individually and in person.

Mental Health Counselor

At first and last session with the Mental Health Counselor.

Improved ability to recognize domestic violence and increased awareness of its effects on children.

Administer the Domestic Violence Knowledge and Awareness Survey individually and in person.



Parents’ knowledge of where to seek help for themselves and their children should they face domestic violence.




Progression towards substance abuse/use recovery.

Case Management notes



Improved overall family functioning.

Administer the Family Functioning Scale individually and in person.

Case Manager

At intake and case closure.

Goal #5: Educate and raise community awareness of the public health consequences of our children being exposed to gang violence.

Increased awareness of the public health consequences of children being exposed to gang violence.

CEV Awareness Survey administered to a targeted number of community residents.

Case Manager and Outreach Workers



ii. Process to Report Data

The Program Monitor will collect and analyze all program data to assess the program implementation and the degree to which the program achieves its goals and objectives. In addition, the Program Monitor will submit all performance data and reports to OJJDP as required and work collaboratively with OJJDP if OJJDP is conducting or supporting an evaluation of the programs it funds under this solicitation.

CSC will use the ClientTrack HMIS Software to track progress, outcomes, and performance benchmarks at both the client and overall program level. ClientTrack is an advanced web-based case management data system that allows for data tracking and analysis, reporting, community collaboration and data sharing. ClientTrack software helps CSC manage intakes, perform client and program assessments, and show outcomes to funding sources. The system allows for secure record sharing, including basic client information, programs, services, and some assessment data in order to develop a care coordination strategy to best serve our clients. Real time reports will provide authorized users with instant visibility into what activities and efforts are contributing to individual and programmatic progress toward outcome achievement.

ClientTrack’s powerful reporting engine helps us monitor and synthesize the data we collect to stay abreast of our operations, evaluate and report on outcomes, and increase funding. ClientTrack includes two different types of reporting — formatted reports built with Microsoft Report Builder and ad-hoc reports created with our integrated Data Explorer or Query Designer tools.

CSC will pay special attention to gathering the data needed to assess the objectives and deliverables of the program, to include (1) supportive services for children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities, (2) community-based approaches and crime-reduction strategies that focus on prevention and intervention of violent crime, (3) outreach strategies to increase awareness and build the capacity of families and communities to help children exposed to violence, and (4) the work done by the multidisciplinary team. For impact measures we will use standardized instruments such as the Youth Well-Being Survey, and the Family Functioning Scale.


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