MU Social Work receives $750k grant from USDOJ

HUNTINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime has awarded a $750,000 grant to the Marshall University Department of Social Work. 

 The grant was awarded in response to the opioid epidemic in Cabell and Wayne counties, and will be used to fund WV-TIME4K (West Virginia – Trauma Informed Mindfulness Engagement for Kids), an initiative established to address the unmet needs of the youngest, most vulnerable crime victims in these West Virginia counties. Dr. Peggy Proudfoot Harman, director of the university’s Master of Social Work program and principal investigator for the grant, said the region has seen potential early successes, as a result of strategies which include, but are not limited to, the quick response teams created to offer treatment and recovery services.

 “WV-TIME4K will establish a replicable model by implementing a program in four elementary schools in two counties, which represent 13% of the state’s total population,” Harman said. “WV-TIME4K will provide individual support to children in kindergarten through 5th grade to provide trauma-informed behavioral health support through evidence-based mindfulness coaching, in tandem with social work and legal services for families and guardians. WV-TIME4K’s model will have a significant impact on children in local communities with broader impact at regional and state levels. Implementation of the WV-TIME4K model will enable further understanding of successes and challenges in meeting the needs of our youngest crime victims of the opioid epidemic.”

 This three-year grant was funded in collaboration with other university and community partners, as follows: 

 ·Cabell County Department of Health and Human Services will provide referrals and contribute expertise in advocacy for children and youth served by WV-TIME4K.

·Cabell County Drug Court will provide referrals and support strategic planning through of WV-TIME4K in Cabell County. Drug Court staff will inform WV-TIME4K of the children of individuals who are enrolled in Drug Court who meet the qualifying enrollment criteria.

·City of Huntington will provide support to strategic planning and infrastructure development as a novel model that can be replicated for expansion to other schools.

·Healthy Connections Coalition will support youth needing additional family-based supports through the integration of the Family Navigators to reduce barriers to this care.

·Huntington Police Department will be part of the feedback system to define the scope of the problem and trained on the benefits of Handle with Care to increase use of that program; the Huntington Quick Response Team may interact with youth in the home following an overdose. They will make referrals to WV-TIME4K when appropriate.

·Legal Aid of West Virginia will provide legal support in the school system to increase access to services that stabilize the life of these young victims.

·Marshall University Coalition will strengthen the multidisciplinary community-based response and assist in expanding feedback for the program and effectiveness of services.

·Marshall University Psychology Department and the Department of Social Work will provide faculty and graduate student support, along with expertise in community collaboration, school-based interventions, therapy and helping promote resiliency in youth and families.

·PeaceTree Center for Wellness will provide training, knowledge and direct services for youth, teachers, guardians, clinical staff and partners.

·United Way of the River Cities will support this large multidisciplinary community through their history of coalition building and expertise providing prevention services in the school setting.

·Wayne County Department of Health and Human Services Office will provide referrals to WV-TIME4K and help with development of student safety plans.

·Wayne County Schools will provide referrals to WV-TIME4K and will also provide the space, teacher and school support, and resources for the implementation of WV-TIME4K.

·Wayne County Drug Court will provide referrals, support strategic planning and information to Ceredo-Kenova Elementary, Central City Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary and Wayne Elementary Schools.

Harman said the grant aims to target counties with significant socioeconomic challenges compounding the issue of the opioid crisis, demonstrated by a declining population, low median income, continued high unemployment rates and the percent of individuals living below poverty level – all having a direct influence on children. Harman said this grant-funded project would not be possible without the leadership of Robert Hansen, director of addiction services, and Dr. Lyn O’Connell, associate director of community services, both of Marshall Health; and Deb Koester, grant researcher for the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.