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MONDAY, MARCH 10, 1997202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Five sites will share almost $2.7 million to implement comprehensive, community-wide programs to reduce child abuse and neglect and stop the cycle of violence, the Department of Justice announced today. Huntsville, Alabama; the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Toledo, Ohio; and Chittenden County, Vermont are each receiving "Safe Kids-Safe Streets" grants.

"A child who has suffered abuse or neglect is much more likely to commit a violent crime than a child who has grown up in a caring environment," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Addressing the cycle of violence is a critical underpinning of this innovative Justice Department effort to combat youth violence and protect our nation's children."

The Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) worked with law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, victims' and children's advocates, and mental health practitioners to develop this program. "These experts told us that change needs to come at the grassroots level, and that it needs to involve the whole community, including families," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. "OJP is committed to working as partners with these five communities to help this change happen."

The five sites will each work toward four common goals:

Each site designed its Safe Kids-Safe Streets strategy to meet its needs. The Sault Sainte Marie Tribe, for example, will establish a computer tracking system and database to monitor child abuse cases. Kansas City will hold classes to teach basic parenting skills and help parents resolve disputes with their children without resorting to violence. Toledo will create a children's advocacy center to treat child abuse victims and prevent further abuse.

"The five Safe Kids-Safe Streets communities have already made progress in bringing together many different elements to form a more coordinated and effective response to child abuse and neglect," said Shay Bilchik, Administrator of OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which is administering Safe Kids-Safe Streets. "This program will help these communities expand their efforts with the expectation that they can serve as a model for other communities."

Safe Kids-Safe Streets represents the first time that such a significant number of OJP's bureaus and offices have pooled their resources to support a single program. OJJDP and OJP's

Violence Against Women Grants Office (VAWGO) will each fund two sites, while the Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) will fund the remaining site. Awards will range from $125,000 to $925,000 for use over the next 18 months. Currently, this program is scheduled to be funded over 5 years. The five sites will receive technical assistance and other support from these offices as well as OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics and Office for Victims of Crime. The program is also being evaluated.

"We received over 175 applications, which shows us there is a growing national commitment to protect children from abuse and neglect," added Bilchik. "These communities show the greatest promise to keep kids safe."

To learn more about OJP's bureaus and program offices, visit the OJP World Wide Web site at Members of the media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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