Virginia HEALS (Helping Everyone Access Linked Systems) is an initiative that was developed as part of the Linking Systems of Care (LSC) for Children and Youth statewide demonstration project, supported by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).
Children and youth experience victimization and trauma at alarming rates, and the systems charged with caring for them often provide fragmented and ineffective responses for them and their families. OVC wanted to learn what is needed to bring healthcare, child welfare, justice, advocacy, and other systems together to coordinate and align efforts to ensure a timely and seamless response to young victims, their families, and caregivers no matter the system of entry.
This goals of the demonstration project were to:
- identify and promote healing for victims of crime,
- provide or coordinate prevention and intervention services to youth and families experiencing trauma and victimization; and
- build capacity within communities to meet the needs of youth exposed to violence.
In order to meet these goals and guided by data and input from people with lived experience and a variety of community-based and state-level stakeholders across systems, the Virginia HEALS team developed the Trauma-Informed Model of Service Delivery for Children, Youth, and Families and supporting Toolkit.
When Federal support for the project concluded in March 2021, the Virginia Department of Social Services sustained the project with the goal of promoting, expanding, and elevating trauma-focused and healing-centered approaches in Virginia.