YCCAC Awarded John T. Gorman Foundation Child and Family Safety Grant

York County Community Action Corporation has been awarded $25,000 by the John T. Gorman Foundation as part of a $500,000 grant to protect child and family safety during the pandemic. The grant will support in-home visits by YCCAC Outreach workers to identify safety risks and assist families by reducing stress, connecting them to resources, providing education on safe practices for young children, and offer direct supports such as food and diapers.

“During the COVID pandemic, homes are supposed to be a refuge – the one place you can go to feel completely safe. But the combination of social isolation and great stress over the last few months has raised serious concerns about the safety of many vulnerable households in Maine,” said John T. Gorman Foundation Chief Program Officer Nicole Witherbee. “These latest John T. Gorman Foundation grants were made to help victims of domestic violence escape their abusers and ensure parents can access the resources, support, and relationships they need to provide safe and healthy environments for their children. The Foundation feels fortunate to be able to support our partners’ critical work in these areas.”

The Foundation made an initial round of COVID Response Grants in April, awarding $500,000 in grants to address immediate needs of food and shelter. In the months since, issues around child and family safety also emerged as concerns. Victims of domestic violence have had to shelter in place with their abusers, while domestic violence service providers have had difficulty meeting new levels of demand. At the same time, social distancing requirements have made it more difficult for social service agencies to reach vulnerable families with young children, raising the risks for unsafe situations and unmet needs at home.

The Child and Family Safety Grant allots $250,000 to Domestic Violence Grants, which will allow already full domestic violence shelters to place additional families in hotels or apartments when possible and ensure that they have food, phones, and the means to keep themselves and their families safe. The remaining $250,000, allocated to the Child Safety Grants, were awarded to six Community Action Programs, to Wabanaki Public Health, which serves five Maine Tribes, and to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, to support education and outreach efforts on safe sleep practices and the Period of PURPLE Crying, to prevent infant and toddler mortality.