Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $549,726)
OVCs mission is to enhance the Nations capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. OVC achieves this mission, in part, by administering discretionary award programs supported by the federal Crime Victims Fund to develop innovative training and technical assistance, and to provide direct services to improve the overall quality of victim assistance. The purpose of the FY 2018 Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims is to address an urgent gap in crime victim services related to the opioid epidemic and to expand upon existing or establish new programs to provide services to children and youth who are victimized as a result of the opioid crisis. The overarching goal of this program is to support children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the opioid crisis by providing direct services and support to these young victims at a community or jurisdictional level.
With this award, the Legal Aid of West Virginia will implement a new, collaborative model called "Lawyer in the School" to provide onsite legal assistance primarily at 3 elementary schools. This project replicates a successful 2016 pilot. "Lawyer in the School" will ensure children have access to benefits like Medicaid and other assistance navigating complex systems. The goal is to stabilize lives with legal support. Project activities include legal services to families at school structured to address problems resulting from the opioid crisis in a holistic manner.