Governor Ralph Northam recently announced the award of more than $6 million in grant funds to localities, nonprofit organizations and state agencies throughout Virginia. These grants were approved by the Criminal Justice Services Board at a meeting in Richmond last month.
The grants will support a wide range of programs, including school safety trainings, services for child victims of abuse and neglect, services for victims of sexual and domestic violence, as well as strengthened prosecution of their cases, training and technology upgrades for local law enforcement agencies in all parts of the Commonwealth, and programs serving at-risk youth and promoting family engagement. Some of the grants will maintain support of previously funded programs that are eligible for continuation. Recipients of some grants were required to provide matching funds.
“It is important that we reach beyond the criminal justice system and work collaboratively with a broad range of partners,” said Governor Northam. “These grant funds will provide important resources not only to our partners in law enforcement, but also to local agencies that provide essential services for child and adult victims of domestic and sexual violence, and community organizations seeking to engage youth.”
The money for the grants will come from federal funds allocated to Virginia through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG), the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and state funds from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims Fund.
The largest single grant, over $4 million including the required matching funds, is to the state Department of Social Services. The Department will use the money to continue its support for Child Advocacy Centers and locally operated programs that provide services for child victims.
“We recognize that in order to ensure public safety, we must engage a diverse group of stakeholders and promote cross-disciplinary approaches to address the challenges facing our society,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. “These grants awarded demonstrate our commitment to creating and sustaining innovative strategies that will best serve communities across the Commonwealth.”
Applicants for all of the grants approved by the Board were required to submit grant applications describing their projects and clearly articulating how the funds will be spent. The applications were reviewed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) staff and the Board’s Grants Committee, which made final recommendations to the Board.
“I want to thank the Criminal Justice Services Board for approving these grant funds,” said Shannon Dion, Director of DCJS. “Grants like these are vital to our continued efforts to support our victims, youth and law enforcement in Virginia.”
DCJS administers nearly 1,000 grants annually totaling more than $250 million. The grants support programs and initiatives across the criminal justice system and related agencies in Virginia. In addition to providing funding, DCJS also administers law enforcement training standards, conducts research and evaluations, provides technical assistance, offers training for criminal justice practitioners, and provides regulatory oversight to private security and related businesses.
More information about the grants approved by the Board on May 10 is available on the DCJS website at www.dcjs.virginia.gov.
-Submitted by Albert Stokes, Department of Criminal Justice Services