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Since 1989, the Federal Crime Victims Division within the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has provided funding to American Indian tribes through the Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Partnerships for Indian Communities grant program. These funds are used to help tribes develop, establish, and operate programs to improve the investigation, prosecution, and handling of child abuse cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim.

The goal of the CJA grant program is to improve the capacity of existing tribal systems to handle serious child abuse cases by developing specialized services and procedures that address the needs of American Indian child victims. The program focuses on developing strategies to handle cases of child sexual abuse, from the initial disclosure through investigation and prosecution to case resolution.


OVC currently supports up to 25 grants annually. Each grant requires an in-kind match to encourage tribal investment, thereby promoting the tribe’s ability to establish a program that can endure when OVC funding is no longer available. The in-kind match can be in the form of staff time, facilities, office space and utilities, employee details or loans, and agency partnerships. Hard match, or cash, is allowable in lieu of an in-kind match.


Eligible applicants are federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations. Grant awards are limited to tribal organizations as defined in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93638, 25 U.S.C., Section 450b). Awards may also be granted to nonprofit organizations that provide services to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Training and Technical Assistance

OVC seeks to ensure that all tribal programs are provided the training and technical assistance necessary to help them implement successful programs. A training and technical assistance (T&TA) component is available for tribes that receive funding through the CJA grant program. The recipient of the T&TA award provides comprehensive, skills-building training and technical assistance to CJA grantees to help them develop, establish, and operate projects designed to improve the investigation, prosecution, and overall handling of severe child physical abuse and child sexual abuse cases. The T&TA project team conducts a survey of all CJA grant projects to determine training and technical assistance needs, categorizes and establishes priorities for training, and develops a comprehensive T&TA delivery plan. Based on the survey results, the T&TA team arranges individual onsite program reviews and/or regional training sessions at which experts are available to offer more indepth training. In addition, ongoing telephone technical assistance, resource materials, and specialized cluster meetings or other training and technical assistance are provided when requested.

Activities Funded Through CJA

  • Establishment, expansion, and training for multidisciplinary teams.

  • Revision of tribal codes to address child sexual abuse.

  • Provision of child advocacy services for children involved in court proceedings.

  • Development of protocols and procedures for reporting, investigating, and prosecuting child sexual abuse cases.

  • Improved coordination that minimizes the number of child interviews.

  • Enhanced case management and treatment services.

  • Specialized training for prosecutors, judges, investigators, and other professionals who handle child sexual abuse cases.

  • Development of procedures for establishing and managing child-centered interview rooms.

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Children's Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities June 2003
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