Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $500,000)
PROPOSAL ABSTRACT (400 words)
Project Ujima, a program of Children’s Wisconsin, provides a trauma-informed, holistic wraparound approach to crime victim services, offering support to all members of the household. The program is a unique model of violence intervention strategies that works toward empowerment, builds on familial strengths and community assets and collaborates with multiple community agencies to address the physical, mental, and emotional needs of individuals exposed to interpersonal and community violence. Funding through this project will enable us to enhance the depth of programming offered through Project Ujima by providing immediate supports including long-term complex care coordination, trauma and resiliency support and victim rights advocacy.
The proportion of pediatric victims to firearm violence is getting worse, leading Project Ujima to see a significant increase in the number of referrals and the severity of injuries over the last year. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 65% increase in the number of referrals to Project Ujima as a result of a homicide in the city of Milwaukee. The long-term effects of gunshot wounds can be devastating; victims of gunshot wounds have physical and mental health functioning below population norms even four years following victimization, with those requiring intensive care unit admission showing worse physical outcomes than those discharged from other hospital departments. As a result of the continually increasing number of youth affected by violent injuries from interpersonal or community violence, Project Ujima has identified three areas where improvement is needed to properly assist in meeting the complex needs of the victims we serve. Specific project aims include:
Develop and pilot a comprehensive training and support plan, in order to further educate hospital and Project Ujima staff upon patient and victim rights related to law enforcement presence within the hospital and emergency department.
Hire and onboard a complex care coordinator to assist with the coordination of complex care and benefits enrollment for supportive rehabilitation services/ care.
Develop and pilot curriculum based on evidence-based models to implement a trauma-resiliency support group for youth victims of violence.
This project will be led by a newly hired complex care coordinator who will work in partnership with the Project Ujima program manager to achieve the aims and activities listed in the time task table and focus on the following improvement initiatives: 1) Victims’ Rights Education; 2) Complex Care Coordination and Support; and 3) Building Resiliency.