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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Basic Center Program

Deadline: July 14, 2017

The Basic Center Program (BCP) aims to provide temporary shelter and counseling services to youth who have left home without permission of their parents or guardians, have been forced to leave home, or other homeless youth who might end up in contact with law enforcement or in the child welfare, mental health, or juvenile justice systems. The scope of work is to include access to emergency shelter, gateway services, screening and assessment, coordinated case management, follow-up, and continuum service linkages, and family reunification, whenever possible.

The intent is to increase young people’s access to safe and stable housing, connections to school and employment, enhance social and emotional well-being, self-sufficiency, and help them build permanent connections with families, communities, schools, and other positive social networks. Support is provided toward projects that:

  • Provide services for runaway and homeless youth and the families of such youth
  • Establish an alternative to involving runaway and homeless youth in the law enforcement, child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems
  • Provide safe and appropriate shelter for runaway and homeless youth
  • Provide individual, family, and group counseling
  • Reunite youth with their families, when appropriate

Additionally, Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) programs must provide street-based services to youth victims of trafficking. RHY programs are also required to increase their capacity to identify and provide services and/or service referrals to trafficked youth by participating in professional trainings and adding human trafficking elements into existing screening and assessment tools. RHY Programs are encouraged to enhance their human trafficking prevention and intervention efforts to minimize these incidents among vulnerable youth and effectively identify trafficked youth.

Projects must adhere to a Comprehensive Youth-Centered Service Model that includes the following components:

  • Access to shelter: Projects shall provide runaway, homeless, and street youth, shelter or safe and stable housing for up to 21 days and individual, family, and group counseling, as appropriate. Shelter services must accommodate no fewer than four and not more than 20 youth, except where the grantee ensures that the state where the center or locally controlled facility is located has a state or local law or regulation that requires a higher maximum to comply with licensure requirements. Transportation to the shelter should be available as needed, and barriers to entry should be low enough that it is easily accessible by youth.
  • Gateway services: Project outreach staff must provide food, drink, referrals to shelter, clothing, transportation, and hygiene to prevent malnutrition and ill-health while building trust with youth they encounter. Project outreach staff is also expected to build a rapport to identify youth who are at-risk of or victims of sexual exploitation or human trafficking.
  • Screening and assessment: Projects must implement standardized methods to screen and assess each youth’s situation at contact, such as immediate needs; physical and behavioral health; connection to family; safety; access to resources; issues of neglect, trafficking, or abuse; and other risk and protective factors affecting well-being and self-sufficiency. The screening and assessment tool(s) must also evaluate the unique needs of subpopulations of runaway and homeless youth such as, but not limited to, youth who are pregnant or parenting; running from a foster care setting; sexually exploited; victims of sex or labor trafficking; and in need of substance abuse or mental health services.
  • Coordinated case management: Projects must provide intensive case management to youth receiving services; this will include services in place to address present and historical trauma, with access to a range of options for trauma-informed behavioral-health services. Case management must involve the development of an individualized service plan that is tailored to meet the specific needs of the young person receiving services. In addition, projects must provide individual, family, and group counseling; ensure youth receive trauma-informed counseling services and have access to home-based services, drug and/or alcohol abuse education and prevention service, and/or sexually transmitted disease testing; and report data on the types of counseling and services offered, participation rates, and completion rates.
  • Follow-up/Aftercare services: must provide three months of follow-up to youth that receives up to 21 days of services from the BCP. Projects must establish an exit plan with youth within three days of receiving BCP services. The exit plan must include permanent placement planning that will help ensure the youth have the opportunity to make informed decisions about the support and services they need to receive, to develop a plan for permanency, and identify and achieve their personal goals.
  • Continuum service linkages: Projects must coordinate with others such as government, nonprofits, other outreach teams, referral providers, and service providers to ensure the ability to serve the homeless youth population. Service linkages must include, but are not limited to: health (medical/dental); mental health/emotional support; substance abuse treatment centers; law enforcement; schools; employment services; sexual assault services; services for victims of human trafficking; housing; welfare personnel; and legal services.
  • Geographic location: Projects must be located in areas where runaway, homeless, and street youth can easily access services. This may include rural communities, tribal communities, or areas outside of metropolitan areas.

Amount: Approximately $16,587,189 is available to fund up to 91 grants, ranging from $50,000-$200,000 and averaging $146,428 per budget period. The project duration is for 36 months with three 12-month budget periods. Grantees must provide at least 10 percent of the total approved cost of the project.

Eligibility: Public (state and local) and private nonprofit entities; coordinated networks of such entities; private institutions of higher education that are nonprofit entities; community organizations; and faith-based organizations. Priority will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience in providing services to runaway and homeless youth.

Link: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2015-ACF-ACYF-CY-0957

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