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Three DOJ Grants Come to the SSW

The University of Maryland School of Social Work recently heard positive news about three grants written this summer to the US Department of Justice.

This is an important recognition of social work's central role in the development, and implementation, and evaluation of new models for serving persons who would otherwise become more deeply involved with the juvenile and criminal justice systems. According to Dean Richard Barth, "These awards, totaling more than $4M, support our understanding that the 'social is fundamental' and underscore the important role that the University of Maryland School of Social Work is playing, in concert with traditional justice agencies, to achieve greater social justice."

Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking: A Jurisdiction-Wide Approach

received funding from the DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime was accepted. The School has been awarded this grant of just under $3M over the next three years. Research Assistant Professor Nadine Finigan-Carr is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the project. The funds awarded make possible the delivery and testing of a multi-disciplinary team response and victim-centered approach in a way that will make this response standard for trafficked youth across Maryland. Partners include the Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention; Turnaround; Safe Center; Healthy Teen Network; MD Department of Human Resources and MD Department of Juvenile Services; MD Office of the Attorney General; MD Court of Appeals; Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince Georges County, and many more.

West Baltimore Youth Violence Prevention Initiative is an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the US Department of Justice. Assistant Dean and Executive Director of Promise Heights, Bronwyn Mayden is the PI. The grant will coordinate West Baltimore violence prevention efforts in Promise Heights and Sandtown Winchester with a special focus on fostering violence-free social environments; promoting positive opportunities and connections to trusted adults for all youth; intervening with youth and families at the first sign of disconnection from the community; building pathways that support youth involved with juvenile services; and protecting youth and families from violence. The award is for $1M over three years. Partners include the Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore City Health Department, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Penn North Community Association, Communities United, Catholic Charities, and the Urban Institute.

Assessing the Impact of a Graduated Response Approach for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System was awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Research Assistant Professor Jill Farrell is the PI. The evaluation will rigorously test a structured, evidence-informed approach to address supervision violations, which are a major contributing factor to the incarceration of young people in this country, particularly youth of color. The primary partner, the MD Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), recently implemented this graduated response system, which uses a range of sanctions and incentives to respond to youth behaviors without relying on confinement. The study will assess the implementation and effectiveness of this approach, including an examination of outcomes using administrative data from DJS and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The award is for $250,000 over two years.

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