Southeastern Ohio Legal Services is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Victims of Crime has awarded us a $750,000 grant to assist children and youth who are victims of crime as a result of the opioid crisis. Ohio’s child welfare system has seen a 19 percent increase in the number of children removed from parental care since 2010 and now has nearly 15,000 children in custody.
The funding will allow SEOLS to join with many community partners to create the Appalachian Ohio Children’s Victim Assistance and Prevention Project, which will focus on addressing the gap in crime victim services, work to expand existing resources and create new strategies to provide services to children impacted by the epidemic. Partners in this multi-county effort will include Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership, and Public Affairs, Muskingum Valley Health Center, The Counseling Center, CRC Kinship Care, Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, Sojourners Care Network, and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati.
The project, funded for three years, will assist children and youth from infancy to 18-years-old living in Adams, Athens, Brown, Clermont, Coshocton, Guernsey, Highland, Hocking, Jefferson, Lawrence, Morgan, Muskingum, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties. Appalachian Ohio, historically the poorest region in the state, is considered by many to be the epicenter of the opioid crisis.
“This collaboration will include community-based organizations across the targeted counties with years of experience in supporting and providing evidence-based, trauma-informed care for children and youth victims of crimes,” said SEOLS attorney Robin Bozian, who is the project manager. “We’re eager to partner with these experts in order to help children whose lives have been turned upside down by opioid epidemic.”