Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $750,000)
OVCs mission is to enhance the Nations capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. OVC achieves this mission, in part, by administering discretionary award programs supported by the federal Crime Victims Fund to develop innovative training and technical assistance, and to provide direct services to improve the overall quality of victim assistance. The purpose of the FY 2018 Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims is to address an urgent gap in crime victim services related to the opioid epidemic and to expand upon existing or establish new programs to provide services to children and youth who are victimized as a result of the opioid crisis. The overarching goal of this program is to support children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the opioid crisis by providing direct services and support to these young victims at a community or jurisdictional level.
With this award, the Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., (LASO) will provide critical civil legal services, previously unavailable, to children in Oklahoma who have been victimized as a result of opioid abuse. LASO will embed a LASO attorney within each of two partner programs, Kids Space and the ABC Program Clinic. The two attorneys will become part of the team already working with the children and their nonabusing family members and caregivers. The attorneys will train the staff at each partner agency to identify issues impacting the victimized child and/or their nonabusing family members/caregivers that might have a civil legal solution, and will work with the partner agencies to identify children who have been victimized as a result of opioid abuse. LASO attorneys will accept referrals of those children and their nonabusing family members/caregivers for civil legal needs that, when addressed, will assist in the childs recovery from the victimization. Services to be provided may include, but are not limited to, help for nonabusing family members/caregivers to maintain or secure safe housing for the child away from their abuser(s), assistance with custody or guardianship issues for safe placement of child, help removing employment barriers for nonabusing family members/caregivers caring for the child, help accessing eligibility for earned benefits for child and/or nonabusing family members/caregivers including Social Security, Medicaid, SNAP, and child support, or help securing protective orders for the childs nonabusing family members/caregivers caring for the child to escape the abuser.