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Youth Hotline Planning

Grant to a Washington, DC Organization to Develop
a Hotline for Youth At Risk of Victimization

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG)

Deadline Date:

12/08/17 Midnight


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Grant of up to $35,000 to a Washington, DC organization to develop a hotline for youth who are at risk of victimization and leaving home. The recipient will provide a plan for both the design and implementation of a youth hotline serving District of Columbia residents.

The hotline is intended to address the recommendations of the Sexual Assault Victims Rights Act (SAVRA) Task Force and the Working Group on Runaway and Missing Youth to provide a resource for youth who experience sexual victimization and range of other issues that may contribute to leaving or being lured from home. 

SAVRA Task Force:

The Sexual Assault Victims Rights Act of 2014 created a Task Force to provide recommendations on amending sexual assault legislation in the District of Columbia around four key legislative questions. One questions addressed whether youth victims of sexual assault should be afforded the same right to an independent advocate that is afforded to adult victims of sexual assault. The Task Force unanimously supported expanding the right to an independent community-based advocate to youth victims of sexual assault ages 12-17.

The Task Force Report’s recommendations, issued in 2016, included the establishment of a youth-oriented hotline to provide information anonymously to minors age 12-17 about their legal rights, mandatory reporting requirements of various system actors, the details of the law enforcement reporting process, age appropriate and VAWA-compliant access points for medical care, counseling and law enforcement assistance, as well as details of parental notification laws in the District of Columbia. The Task Force recommends a hotline that includes telephone text and online chat features and recommends a warm hand off to a community-based advocate who is available to meet in person with the minor victim to provide the following information, regardless of the status of the case or report to law enforcement, if the minor victim consents to be connected with an advocate:

A) Information about the system of care available to the minor victim and the youth victim’s or rights under the Violence Against Women Act;

B) A general outline of the civil and criminal legal remedies available to youth victims;

C) The minor victim’s right of accompaniment to a medical forensic exam and any other portion of the process as desired by the minor victim;

D) Information and assistance regarding the minor victim’s ability to inform or speak with parents or other adults in the minor victim’s life if desired by the minor victim;

E) Information about creating and periodically amending a safety plan with the minor victim;

F) Information about the minor victim’s rights in the school system;

G) Referrals to counseling services that are appropriate to the minor victim;

H) Information about logistical challenges that the minor victim may face such as transportation, school attendance and other safety planning issues;

I) Advocacy in, and assistance with, any benefits or financial supports available;

J) Right to receive an interpreter and materials translated into their primary language; and

K) Any other advocacy needs identified by the sexual assault victim advocate and the minor victim.

Working Group on Runaway and Missing Youth:

In early 2017, reports about the District of Columbia’s missing youth, particularly girls of color, garnered local and national attention and concern. The initial focus was on a perceived increase in the number of youth reported missing. In reality, the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) data showed that the number of youth who have been reported missing in the District was lower than in previous years. In late 2016, MPD’s Youth and Family Services Division began aggressively using social media to generate immediate public attention for missing young people. By using social media to make the community aware of missing youth, MPD has been able to generate significant public attention around the cases – often a key contributor to finding missing persons. The Tweets and Facebook posts brought much-needed attention to the fact that in cities across the country, hundreds of youth, particularly young people of color, are reported missing each year.

Ensuring that DC continues to improve its response to missing youth, on March 24, 2017, Mayor Bowser identified six immediate initiatives to locate young people who have been reported as missing, provide critical resources to better address the issues that cause young people to run away from home, and support young people who may be considering leaving home. Included was establishing a Working Group, co-chaired by the directors of the Office of Victim’s Services and Justice Grants Administration (OVSJG) and the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), to develop the findings and recommendations of this report. In May 2017, the Working Group issued recommendations for enhancing the District’s response to missing and runaway youth that included creating a 24-hour hotline with call, text, and chat capabilities, and consider online and mobile application options, to connect youth to local resources that provide support, information, and referrals.

Program Requirements:

The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants is seeking applicants to create a plan for the design and implementation of a youth hotline for the District of Columbia. The primary goal of the hotline is to address the needs of youth who have been sexually assaulted in accordance with the recommendations of the SAVRA Task Force. Additionally, the hotline shall have the capacity to connect youth to a variety of local resources that provide support, information, and referrals for a wide range of concerns that may contribute to youth leaving or being lured from home. Applicants are expected to develop a framework of requirements for the entity ultimately responsible for implementing a youth hotline for the District.

More specifically, the successful applicant will provide recommendations in a written plan that address the following:

-Proposed method of operation for a hotline specific to serve the needs of youth including staffing structure, communication modalities (i.e., text, phone, chat, app, social media, etc.);

-Key relationships or partnerships needed for successful implementation and operations;

-Marketing and outreach strategies geared specifically to reach youth;

-Proposed hours of operation;

-Proposed key activities for creation and implementation;

-Recommendation of whether the hotline will be anonymous or confidential and rationale to support recommendation;

-Recommendation of how to address Mandated Reporting laws in the District;

-Recommendation of how youth hotline will meet the diverse needs of youth and also meet the specific needs of youth who are sexually assaulted;

-Recommendations of how to ensure the hotline will comply with the Violence Against Women Act;

-Recommendations on how the hotline will ensure autonomy of youth who contact the hotline;

-Recommendation of technology needs to implement;

-Proposed timeline for implementation that may include a phased approach of both hours of operation and communication modalities;

-General guidance of costs to implement and operate a youth hotline based on research; and

-Potential pitfalls and/or "blind spots" to successful implementation.

Award Information:

The recipient of the award will produce a report detailing recommendations for the design and implementation of a youth-specific hotline, including a timeline for implementation of the various features/elements of the hotline and the associated costs. The goal is to produce a document that may be used by a successful applicant for the operation of the youth hotline to implement the hotline.

The award recipient will be required to convene a working group minimally comprised of District sexual assault and youth services providers, and youth and hotline subject matter experts in the development of the report. Additionally, the working group will include the SAVRAA Independent Expert Consultant, a representative from the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, and other representatives as determined by OVSJG.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182469

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The funding award is not to exceed $35,000.

Term of Contract:

The project period for this award is not to exceed six months. The anticipated start date is January 2018.

Pre-Application Information:

Questions must be emailed to Kelley Dillon by November 20, 2017.

All applicants are required to apply before midnight on December 8, 2017.

More information about the online ZoomGrants application may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online through ZoomGrants:

Direct questions to:

Kelley Dillon, Grants Management Specialist

For emails, use the subject reference “Youth Hotline Planning RFA Inquiry.”

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington, DC