Today, the U.S. Department of Education is posting a Notice Inviting Applications for the Project Prevent Grant Program, which will award more than $6 million to local educational agencies (LEAs) impacted by community violence. As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader commitment to school safety and addressing youth mental health the Department will provide schools the necessary resources to combat community violence and ensure a safe learning environment for students, families, and educators. Following the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Department will be announcing additional resources for schools in the weeks ahead.
Project Prevent grants will expand the capacity of LEAs to implement community- and school-based strategies to help prevent community violence and mitigate the impacts of exposure to community violence. With these funds, LEAs can increase their capacity to identify, assess, and serve students exposed to community violence, helping LEAs to (1) increase student access to mental health services; (2) support conflict management programs; and (3) implement other community- and school-based strategies to help prevent community violence and to mitigate the impacts of exposure to community violence. As the Department works to address opportunity and achievement gaps, Project Prevent will deliver more resources for communities in need.
“When our students are exposed to community violence and experience trauma, their learning, their mental health, and their overall wellbeing are affected. We must do everything in our power to prevent and address community violence and wrap our children in the supports and services that can help them overcome any barriers to their success,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The availability of these new federal dollars will be transformative for our children and our communities. Together, we can give every student—especially students who need the greatest supports—what they need to learn, grow, heal, and thrive.”
Research has demonstrated that community violence is a risk factor for facing an adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as abuse, neglect, witnessing violence, or having a family member who is incarcerated, and has an impact on future violence and victimization in a community. ACEs can increase risk among children and youth to experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorders; have difficulty in, or disconnect from, school and the workforce; and engage in delinquency or violent acts, potentially perpetuating the conditions that contribute to a cycle of community violence.
Community violence is a significant public health, public safety, and community infrastructure concern nationwide and is a leading cause of death, injury, and intergenerational trauma for people in the United States. Community violence imposes enormous human, social, and economic costs, including disruption to employment and hindering a community’s social and economic development.
The FY22 Project Prevent Grant Program has a focus on partnerships with community-based organizations to mitigate the impact of community violence on students and families implementing community and school-based strategies. Local educational agencies, or consortia of local educational agencies are eligible to apply for these grants. The Department is especially interested in programs that support children and youth from low-income backgrounds. With the right investments and supports, the impact of these experiences can be mitigated in ways that help our children and youth thrive.
The Notice Inviting Applications is available here