In response to emerging statistics and research on the prevalence and impact of children's exposure to violence, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention worked with Federal partners in the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop the Safe Start Initiative, which is designed to prevent and reduce the impact of family and community violence on young children (primarily from birth to age 6) and their families.
The goal of the Safe Start demonstration project is to expand existing partnerships among service providers in key areas such as early childhood education/development, health, mental health, child welfare, family support, substance abuse prevention/intervention, domestic violence/crisis intervention, law enforcement, courts, and legal services. The project aims to create a comprehensive service delivery system that will meet the needs of children and their families at any point of entry into the system. This comprehensive system expects to improve the accessibility, delivery, and quality of services for young children who have been exposed to violence or are at high risk of exposure. This 5 1/2-year demonstration project is divided into three phases: a 1-year planning phase, a 1 1/2-year initial implementation phase, and a 3-year full implementation and maintenance phase. Nine sites were selected in 1999 and 2000 for participation in the project. The sites are currently at the end of the planning phase and have undergone a comprehensive data-driven community assessment and strategic planning process that has included identification of risk and protective factors, resources, and gaps; mapping of services; and analysis of policy and fiscal issues.
Date Published: April 1, 2001