U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Basic Center Program
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. Projects will have a vision 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.
Through the provision of shelter and services, BCP youth under the age of 18 will realize improvements in four core outcome areas:
- Social and emotional well-being: Youth will connect to system of care providers to assist with physical health, substance abuse, mental health, personal safety (e.g., identify potential trafficking situations), and sexual risk behaviors they may face
- Permanent connections: Youth will experience ongoing attachments to families, communities, schools, and other social networks
- Education or employment: Youth will connect to school or vocational training programs, or improve interviewing skills, job attainment skills, and employment
- Stable housing: Youth and their dependent child(ren) will transition to safe and stable housing to include moving in with family or other permanent supportive housing
In addition to meeting the four core outcomes, projects are required to ensure youth receive trauma-informed counseling services and gives projects the option to also provide home-based services, drug and/or alcohol abuse education and prevention services, and/or STD testing. BCP Projects need to report data on the types of counseling and services offered, participation rates, and completion rates if these services are offered. Finally, each BCP Project will ensure that youth exits from the project are safe and appropriate and report these data.
Projects must adhere to a Comprehensive Youth-Centered Service Model that includes the following components:
- Access to shelter: Projects shall provide youth, under the age of 18, 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 4 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: Grantees must provide 3 months of follow-up services 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.
- 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: A total of $15,225,563 is available to fund up to 89 grants, ranging from $50,000-$200,000 and averaging $171,074 per budget period. The project duration is for 36 months (three 12-month budget periods). Grantees must provide at least 10 percent of the total approved cost of the project.
Eligibility: Public and nonprofit entities; combinations 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.
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