The Division of Youth Services of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has received grant awards totaling $1,309,699 for child welfare and community services through the following:
• Child Welfare Disaster Supplemental Funding of $75,515;
• Child Welfare CARES Act supplemental funding of $13,749;
• Community Services Block Grant Disaster Supplemental funding of $450,057; and
• Community Services Block Grant Cares Act funding of $770,378.
DYS administrator Vivian Sablan said the funding is critical to the division’s mission and operation for services after the 2018 typhoon season and now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The grant awards allow us to expand services at this very critical time, when families are most in need. On top of our usual federal funding for youth services, it will help us go above and beyond to ensure our children and families are supported during this time,” said Sablan.
The Child Welfare Disaster Supplemental funding aims to address the expansion of a coordinated child and family services in areas affected by disasters (Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu) to protect and promote the welfare of children, prevent neglect, abuse and exploitation of children, support at-risk families, promote safety and permanence and well-being of children in foster care and provide training to ensure a qualified child welfare workforce. These services will include support to foster families through stipends, child welfare professional development for DYS staff, including disaster preparedness training for clients and families, forensic interviews and funding to cover operational needs to conduct youth and parent sessions for those under the child welfare system in the CNMI. The Child Welfare Disaster Supplemental funds spending plan has been submitted and approved to be included as part of DYS’ Consolidated Block Grants.
The Child Welfare CARES Act funding’s objective is to ensure the safety, permanency and wellbeing of youth, families and communities as a whole. DYS remained opened during the government office shutdown and continued to provide essential services through crisis interventions/ responding to child abuse and neglect reports, conducting forensic interviews, attending court hearings and staffing the 24/7 Emergency Shelter operations. This funding will be used to cover such operations during the shutdown. The Child Welfare Cares Act funding spending plan has been submitted and approved.
The Community Services Block Grant Disaster Supplemental funding comes in three stages. Stage 1 funding in the amount of $100,000 and Stage 2 funding in the amount of $350,057 has been awarded to address the consequences of Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu on disaster recovery activities for individuals and families with low incomes. These funds have been allocated to cover costs for the coordination of needs assessments, case management, counseling services, education and training, rental assistance, information and referral, prevention and intervention, recreational services, special services for youth at risk and transportation for eligible families. Individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed and receive some form of FEMA assistance or whose loses were covered by any insurance will not be eligible to apply. More program details will be available in the weeks to come.
The Community Services Block Grant Cares Act funds under the authority of the CSBG Act is intended to address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption as a result of the Covid-19. More details for the CSBG CARES Act will be provided as the CSBG CARES Act State Plan is submitted and approved.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the support for critical needs within the CNMI.
“Our children and our families need this critical support during this critical time, and we commend administrator Vivian Sablan and her team at DYS for their work in getting this assistance for our community. The global pandemic and the last several typhoons have negatively impacted our islands, but with strong support from our federal partners and good work from our government, we are able to provide this much-needed assistance for our families and children. DYS will be rolling out updates moving forward,” said Torres. (PR)