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U.S. Department of Justice: Justice for Families Program

Deadline: January 8, 2020

The Grants to Support Families in the Justice System program (referred to as the Justice for Families Program) was authorized to improve the response of the civil and criminal justice system to families with a history of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, or in cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse. The program supports the following activities for improving the capacity of courts and communities to respond to families affected by the targeted crimes:

  • Court-based and court-related programs
  • Supervised visitation and safe exchange by and between parents
  • Training for people who work with families in the court system
  • Civil legal services
  • Provision of resources in juvenile court matters

Funds under this program must be used for one or more of the six purposes discussed below. To help achieve this coordinated approach, applicants may propose either a standard project or a comprehensive project:

  • Standard Project: Applicants must propose activities either under purpose area 1 (supervised visitation) or 5 (courts). If an applicant is proposing to provide supervised visitation/safe exchange services (purpose area 1), the applicant must also propose activities under at least one additional purpose area. The courts purpose area (purpose area 5) can be addressed in combination with another purpose area or on its own under any one or more of purpose area 5 multiple sub-categories. However, applications that address pro se victim assistance programs (purpose area 5(b)) or propose education and outreach programs (purpose area 5(e)) must be proposed in combination with other purpose area 5 subcategories or (an) other purpose area(s)).
  • Comprehensive Project: Applicants must propose activities under purpose areas 1 (supervised visitation), 5 (courts), and 6 (civil legal services). Applicants may include additional purpose areas in a comprehensive project application but are required to include purpose areas 1,5, and 6.

The Justice for Families Program includes eight distinct purpose areas. In FY 2020, however, applicants are limited to addressing only purpose areas 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8:

  • Purpose Area 1: Supervised visitation and safe exchange. Provide supervised visitation and safe visitation exchange of children and youth by and between parents in situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. For a standard project, applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must propose activities under at least one additional purpose area. For a comprehensive project, this purpose area must be included.
  • Purpose Area 3: Training for court-based and court-related personnel. Educate court-based and court-related personnel and court-appointed personnel (including custody evaluators and guardians ad litem) and child protective services workers on the dynamics of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including information on perpetrator behavior, evidence-based risk factors for domestic and dating violence homicide, and on issues relating to the needs of victims, including safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality, including cases in which the victim proceeds pro se. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.
  • Purpose Area 4: Juvenile court resources. Provide appropriate resources in juvenile court matters to respond to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault (including child sexual abuse), and stalking and ensure necessary services dealing with the health and mental health of victims are available. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.
  • Purpose Area 5: Court and court-based programs and services. Enable courts or court-based or court-related programs to develop or enhance a) court infrastructure (such as specialized courts, consolidated courts, dockets, intake centers, or interpreter services); b) community-based initiatives within the court system (such as court watch programs, victim assistants, pro se victim assistance programs, or community-based supplementary services); c) offender management, monitoring, and accountability programs; d) safe and confidential information-storage and information-sharing databases within and between court systems; e) education and outreach programs to improve community access, including enhanced access for underserved populations; and f) other projects likely to improve court responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. For a standard project, applicants proposing activities under purpose area 5 are not required to propose activities under any other purpose area. Applicants may apply to implement additional purpose areas if they choose. For a comprehensive project, purpose area 5 must be included.
  • Purpose Area 6: Civil legal assistance. Provide civil legal assistance and advocacy services, including legal information and resources in cases which the victim proceeds pro se, to: (a) victims of domestic violence; and (b) non-offending parents in matters: (i) that involve allegations of child sexual abuse; (ii) that relate to family matters, including civil protection orders, custody, and divorce; and (iii) in which the other parent is represented by counsel. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5 for a standard project. This purpose area must be included in a comprehensive project.
  • Purpose Area 8: Training within the civil justice system. Improve training and education to assist judges, judicial personnel, attorneys, child welfare personnel, and legal advocates in the civil justice system. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.

Amount: Approximately $11,000,000 is available to make the following awards:

  • Up to 15 Standard awards ranging up to $550,000 for a period of performance of 36 months
  • 3-7 Comprehensive awards ranging up to $650,000 for a period of performance of 36 months

Eligibility: States, units of local government, courts (including juvenile courts), Indian tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, legal services providers, and victim service providers. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are also eligible.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=322443

Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a non-binding Letter of Intent by December 20, 2019.

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