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Missing and Exploited Children Training and
Technical Assistance Program

Purpose

To provide funding for the continuation of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Missing and Exploited Children Training and Technical Assistance Program. This national training and technical assistance effort has been in operation since 1995 under a cooperative agreement competitively awarded to Fox Valley Technical College of Appleton, WI.

Background

Since the beginning of the Missing and Exploited Children's Program (MECP), OJJDP has funded an extensive program of research and program development focusing on issues relating to missing, exploited, and abducted children. The first major program was the National Resource Center and Clearinghouse on Missing Children, which was established under the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in April 1984. Since that time, OJJDP has funded the design, development, and implementation of more than 50 model projects and approaches to address missing and exploited children issues. Many of these programs and projects involve the design and development of training and technical assistance materials for practitioners at the Federal, State, and local levels.

In addition, OJJDP has funded a variety of research projects that define and document the complex issues presented by missing children cases. The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in America (NISMART) 1988 was the first national study to provide reliable data about the numbers and types of missing children cases and to clarify the types of cases and situations that make up the "missing children" population. Other research projects have provided critical information about the dynamics of missing children cases, the psychological impact of abduction on children and families, and the aftermath of abduction when a missing child comes home.

It has become clear that there is not a single "missing child" problem. Children are abducted by strangers, acquaintances, parents, and other family members. Research has shown that family abduction is a far greater problem than previously realized and that the effects on children can be disastrous and long-lasting. Recovering children abducted by family members, both nationally and internationally, often is extremely difficult and costly. Many children who run away return home quickly, but a significant number run away many times and live on the streets, where they are constantly exposed to danger, exploitation, and the risk of becoming involved in criminal activity. Some of the children previously thought of as runaways have in actuality been thrown away or abandoned by their parent(s) or guardian(s). Each year, many children are harmed after they become lost or wander away. Thousands of children are abducted for short periods of time andmolested. It is estimated that there are more than 114,000 attempted nonfamily abductions of children each year.

Missing and exploited children are often already known to multiple community agencies as victims. Runaway and abducted children may experience physical and sexual assault as part of their missing episode. Runaways often leave home to escape abuse, and children may become involved in sexual exploitation as a direct or indirect result of earlier victimization. Many family abduction cases involve families with histories of domestic violence. Most parentally abducted children have suffered from being the focus of bitter conflict prior to being taken. Recovery of abducted children seldom means the end of the conflict or the traumatic effects of an abduction, yet these children seldom receive the mental health services that could help them cope. Recent studies indicate that children who come from households characterized by violence, abuse, or neglect may also be more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by persons outside their home. The issues surrounding missing and exploited children are varied, complex, and tragic. The missing and exploited children problem is not a minor dilemma that can be resolved with a single approach or by any single agency. Law enforcement officers and other professionals who become involved in these cases face difficult challenges. Agencies must work in collaboration with others who share that responsibility.

The consensus of all of the MECP research projects, demonstration programs, and professionals at the Federal, State, and local levels is that there is an overwhelming need for training and technical assistance for agency staff who work with these types of cases. There also is general agreement that there is an ongoing need for national training and technical assistance that is effectively managed and delivered by a central source that provides coordination and standardization of training materials and information.

The idea of coordination and standardization was strongly supported by the professionals involved in the development of OJJDP's MECP Long Range Plan in 1995. This plan highlighted and supported the need for a coordinated, comprehensive training and technical assistance program designed to enhance the skills of the professionals charged with the responsibility of handling these very complex cases.

In 1995, OJJDP issued the first competitive solicitation for technical support in developing and operating a national MECP training and technical assistance program. An award was made to Fox Valley Technical College in June 1995 for a period of 3 years. Under that agreement, five distinct training workshops have been designed and conducted both regionally and onsite as the foundation for this national training and technical assistance program. More than 12,000 professionals have received training and technical assistance services through these workshops during this 3-year period. The five workshops sponsored under the award are:

Bullet Child Abuse and Exploitation Investigative Techniques (CAEIT). This workshop is designed to enhance the skills of law enforcement and other justice system practitioners, including child protective services, involved in the investigation of child abuse, sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, and missing children cases. The length of this class is 4½ days and the target audience is law enforcement investigators, child protective services workers,and other government officials involved in the investigation of child abuse, exploitation, and missing children. The class size is 75 participants.
Bullet Missing and Exploited Children (MEC). This workshop complements the CAEIT workshop and presents more advanced concepts regarding the investigative process for the experienced investigator. Advanced interviewing techniques, techniques for child exploitation and missing children investigations, and interagency development are the key elements of this workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring "cold" cases to the workshop for interactive problem solving. The length of this workshop is 3 days, and the target audience is the same as for the CAEIT workshop.
Bullet Child Abuse and Exploitation Team Investigative Process (CAETIP). The CAETIP workshop is an intensive 4½-day team program designed for five teams of four members from local communities. The workshop focuses on developing an interagency process and protocols for enhanced enforcement, intervention, and prevention of missing and exploited children cases. Each team is assisted in the development of its own interagency plan for the improved management and investigation of these cases within its community. This workshop requires team participation from each of the five jurisdictions. Teams must include an executive representative from law enforcement, prosecution, social services, and the medical field.
Bullet Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations (CSEI). This workshop is designed to provide law enforcement professionals with the information necessary to properly understand, recognize, investigate, and resolve child sexual exploitation cases. Topics covered include computer child exploitation, missing children, child prostitution, victim interview, suspect interrogation, prosecution, case enhancement, and a variety of management issues. This 4½-day course is intended for law enforcement investigators, child protective services workers, and other officials involved in the investigation of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and missing children. The class size for this workshop is 40 participants.
Bullet Responding to Missing Abducted Children (REMAC). This workshop is designed to provide law enforcement investigators with the information necessary to properly understand, recognize, investigate, and resolve missing and abducted children cases. The 4½-day workshop focuses on enhancing participants' understanding of the need to develop an interagency plan and a process for more effective resolution of missing and abducted children cases. The intended audience for this workshop includes law enforcement investigators, child protective services workers, and other government officials involved in the investigation of missing and abducted children. The class size for this workshop is 40 participants.

Goal

The goal of the Missing and Exploited Children Training and Technical Assistance Program is to build on the work of the past decade and to ensure that the current quality and quantity of critical training and technical assistance is continued and enhanced in order to effectively impact all key service areas for missing and exploited children.

Objectives

  1. Provide, as a key element of the OJJDP MECP, an efficient and effective mechanism for the systematic management and delivery of state-of-the-art training and technical assistance on the national level that will:

    1. Use the existing information resources and work products from MECP grantees and programs.

    2. Ensure the incorporation of new information and work products developed through future efforts.

  2. Coordinate and standardize the information, training, and technical assistance on missing and exploited children disseminated on the Federal, State, and local levels.

  3. Ensure that the following areas are the principal focus of the training and technical assistance delivered:

    1. Effective community and child education, prevention, and awareness programs.

    2. Effective community-based approaches for coordination and collaboration among the primary service provider agencies.

    3. Effective multiagency team approaches.

    4. Effective multijurisdictional coordination approaches.

    5. Available resource education, awareness, and access.

    6. State-of-the-art investigative skills and techniques for location and recovery of missing children and the most effective investigations of child exploitation.

  4. Maintain a data base for tracking and documenting communities, agencies, and personnel that receive MECP training and technical assistance.

  5. Develop a mechanism for providing support to OJJDP for incorporating input from all MECP grantees in the development of concept papers, reports, and related materials to further OJJDP's Title IV Long Range Plan and meet the requirements of the Missing Children's Assistance Act.

  6. Enhance and improve missing and abducted child-serving agencies' and organizations' ability to respond to issues related to cases of missing and exploited children.

  7. Create a stronger link between the front-line personnel working these cases and the policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels.

  8. Incorporate MECP information and work products into training and technical assistance products for both frontline personnel and policymakers.

  9. Maintain state-of-the-art curriculums and materials through systematic review, assessment, and revision in concert with OJJDP.

  10. Coordinate MECP program efforts with other grantees as directed by OJJDP.

Program Strategy

One cooperative agreement will be awarded for a 3-year project period with an initial budget period of 12 months. The purpose of this solicitation and resulting cooperative agreement is to establish a mechanism for the provision of all technical support necessary for the management and delivery of training and technical assistance on a national basis. This includes training and technical assistance program design, development, and implementation and fiscal support necessary to sustain those services required for the continuation of a coordinated and comprehensive Training and Technical Assistance Program under MECP.

The applicant must demonstrate proven national experience and capability to provide timely, relevant professional program continuity for the design, development, delivery, and maintenance of an efficient and effective MECP Training and Technical Assistance Program.

The applicant must list and provide letters of agreement to participate from the primary consultants and trainers who will be used in the design, development, and delivery of the MECP Training and Technical Assistance Program.

The applicant must demonstrate, in detail, the ability to enlist, train, and manage the technical and professional personnel who will provide knowledgeable, credible program continuation and professional program technology transfer to all agencies and personnel involved in the prevention, identification, location, recovery, and reunification with their legal guardians of missing, exploited, and abducted children.

The applicant must include in its application a detailed task plan to accomplish the objectives listed above and to:

  1. Justify its resource allocation (staff and funds) based on the level of effort described in this solicitation.

  2. Develop an efficient and effective mechanism for the systematic management and delivery of state-of-the-art MECP training and technical assistance on the national level that:

    1. Continues the delivery of existing training workshops on a regional and site-specific basis.

    2. Provides other technical support, determined in consultation with OJJDP, in: developing a training mission; coordinating special meetings of grantees/practitioners; and developing special reports, brochures, best practices papers, etc.

  3. Perform all logistics necessary to support regional training and site-specific technical assistance, such as program marketing, participant applications and acceptance, consultant coordination and travel, and meeting/lodging space acquisition, according to Federal regulations.

  4. Provide a mechanism for evaluating and assessing the impact of MECP training and technical assistance activities.

  5. Maintain state-of-the-art curriculums and materials through systematic review, assessment, and revision, in concert with OJJDP.

  6. Maintain a Web site for the effective dissemination and communication of MECP training and technical assistance services and products.

The applicant must include in the application a detailed plan for the establishment of a project advisory board that is independent of any existing organizational board. The advisory board will be made up of individuals representing the following interests: law enforcement, nonfamily abduction victim parent, family abduction victim parent, nonprofit missing children organizations, social services, mental health, courts, prosecution, and medical. All proposed appointees to this advisory board will be subject to approval by OJJDP.

Eligibility Requirements

OJJDP invites applications from public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals. Private, for-profit organizations must agree to waive any profit or fee. Joint applications from two or more eligible applicants are welcome; however, one applicant must be clearly indicated as the primary applicant (for correspondence, award, and management purposes) and the others indicated as coapplicants.

Specific Application Requirements

All applications must include a project summary, a budget narrative, and a program narrative. The project summary must not exceed 250 words. It must be clearly labeled as the project summary and typed single spaced on a single page. Applicants should take care to write a description that accurately and concisely reflects the proposal.

In submitting applications from more than one organization, the relationships among the parties must be set forth in the application. As a general rule, organizations that describe their working relationship in the development of products and the delivery of services as primarily cooperative or collaborative in nature will be considered coapplicants. In the event of a coapplicantsubmission, one coapplicant must be designated as the payee to receive and disburse project funds and be responsible for the supervision and coordination of the activities of the other coapplicant. Under this arrangement, each organization must agree to be jointly and severally responsible for all project funds and services. Each coapplicant must sign the SF-424 and indicate acceptance of the conditions of joint and several responsibility with the other coapplicant.

Applications that include noncompetitive contracts for the provision of specific services must include a sole source justification for any procurement in excess of $100,000. The contractor may not be involved in the development of the statement of work. The applicant must provide sufficient justification for not competing the portion of work proposed to be contracted.

The following information must be included in the application Program Narrative:

  1. Organizational Capability. The applicant must demonstrate that it is eligible to compete for this cooperative agreement and has substantial organizational experience and resources that can be directly applied to provide programmatic support to the effort. This will assure OJJDP the effective maintenance and continuity of an established MECP Training and Technical Assistance Program to law enforcement agencies, State and local governments, other elements of the criminal justice system, public and private nonprofit agencies, and individual disciplines in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of missing and exploited children cases.

    Applicants will be evaluated based on their responsiveness to the program information and descriptions found in this solicitation. Applicants must demonstrate that they are eligible to compete for this cooperative agreement on the basis of eligibility criteria established in this announcement.

  2. Organizational Experience.

    1. The applicant must demonstrate the requisite knowledge of and experience with missing and exploited children issues and be able to provide capable, responsible management of the MECP Training and Technical Assistance Program.

    2. The applicant must demonstrate experience and expertise in providing technical assistance and training to a diverse audience requiring such services with regard to the missing and exploited children issues described in this solicitation.

    3. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to assist in the development of missing and exploited children specialized issue-related training and service-oriented training materials for recipient jurisdictions, professionals, citizens, communities needs, and other OJJDP training and technical assistance programs.

    4. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to provide continuity of comprehensive missing and exploited children issue services in response to the program objectives and strategies described in this solicitation.

  3. Program Goals and Objectives. A succinct statement demonstrating the applicant's understanding of the goals, objectives, and tasks associated with the program must be included. The application must also include a problem statement and a discussion of the applicant's past and potential future contributions to the missing and exploited children issues. The applicant must describe the proposed approach for achieving the objectives of the program and the requirements of the program strategy as detailed in this announcement.

  4. Program Implementation Plan. The applicant must describe its proposed approach to achieving the goals and objectives of the project. A program implementation plan outlining the major activities involved, program implementation, resource allocation, and program manage ment must be included. A clear time-task workplan identifying major milestones, tasks, and products must be a part of the application.

    The applicant should include an organizational chart depicting the roles and responsibilities of key personnel and the organizational functional components that will be responsible for supporting and implementing the program. The applicant should provide detailed position descriptions, qualifications, and criteria for selection for the positions. Consultant profession als should also be included, with a statement of their qualifications and experience that directly relate to the service needs of this program. The applicant should denote which staff members are considered key project personnel and emphasize their position experience.

  5. Program Budget. The applicant must provide a 3-year budget to be prepared by year. Any coapplicant associated costs must be detailed separately and accounted for in the same detail as for the principal applicant. The applicant must provide a detailed justification for all costs by object class category as specified in the SF-424. Costs must be reasonable, and the basis for these costs must be well documented in a separate budget narrative.

  6. Products. A concise description of the products to be produced should be included. The applicant must describe existing and future program activities and products that have been and will be developed or used to continue to service the program and should describe who will be served by these products and how they will be served.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated and rated by a peer review panel according to the criteria outlined below.

Problem(s) To Be Addressed (10 points)

The application must include a problem statement and a discussion of the applicant's past and potential future contributions to missing and exploited children issues.

Goals and Objectives (15 points)

The applicant must describe the proposed approach for achieving the objectives of the program and the requirements of the program strategy as detailed in this announcement. The applicant must demonstrate a clear understanding of the goals, objectives, and tasks associated with the program.

Project Design (25 points)

The applicant must describe its proposed project design for achieving the goals and objectives of the project. A program plan outlining the major activities involved, program implementation, resource allocation, and program management must be included. A clear time-task workplan identifying major milestones, tasks, and products must be a part of the application.

Management and Organizational Capability (40 points)

The project's management structure and staffing must be appropriate for the successful implementation of the project. Applicants should demonstrate, in addition to their program knowledge and program support experience, their fiscal management capacity to effectively implement a project of this size and scope. Applicants must provide credentials of staff with expertise in the area of missing and exploited children. Key staff résumés should be provided in an appendix.

The applicant must describe how it intends to use outside providers, including organizations and individual consultants, to deliver training and technical assistance.

The applicant's organizational ability to administer the project successfully must be clearly documented in the proposal and should include available computer technology and information systems that will be utilized in the attainment of project goals and objectives.

Budget (10 points)

Applicants must provide a proposed budget that is complete, detailed, reasonable, allowable, and cost effective in relation to the activities to be undertaken.

Format

The narrative portion of this application must not exceed 60 pages and must be submitted on 8½-by 11-inch paper, double spaced on one side of the paper in a standard 12-point font. This is necessary to maintain fair and uniform standards among all applicants. If the narrative does not conform to these standards, OJJDP will deem the application ineligible for consideration.

Award Period

The project will be funded for 3 years in three 1-year budget periods. Funding after the first budget period depends on grantee performance, availability of funds, and other criteria established at time of award.

Award Amount

Up to $1,250,000 is available for the initial 1-year budget period.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

For this program, the CFDA number, which is required on Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, is 16.543. This form is included in OJJDP's Application Kit, which can be obtained by calling the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736 or sending an e-mail request to puborder@ncjrs.org. The Application Kit is also available online at www.ncjrs.org/ojjhome.htm. (See the Introduction for more contact information.)

Coordination of Federal Efforts

To encourage better coordination among Federal agencies in addressing State and local needs, the U.S. Department of Justice is requesting applicants to provide information on the following: (1) active Federal grant award(s) supporting this or related efforts, including awards from the U.S. Department of Justice; (2) any pending application(s) for Federal funds for this or related efforts; and (3) plans for coordinating any funds described in items (1) or (2) with the funding sought by this application. For each Federal award, applicants must include the program or project title, the Federal grantor agency, the amount of the award, and a brief description of its purpose.

"Related efforts" is defined for these purposes as one of the following:

Bullet Efforts for the same purpose (i.e., the proposed award would supplement, expand, complement, or continue activities funded with other Federal grants).
Bullet Another phase or component of the same program or project (e.g., to implement a planning effort funded by other Federal funds or to provide a substance abuse treatment or education component within a criminal justice project).
Bullet Services of some kind (e.g., technical assistance, research, or evaluation) to the program or project described in the application.

Delivery Instructions

All application packages should be mailed or delivered to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, c/o Juvenile Justice Resource Center, 2277 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 2K, Rockville, MD 20850; 301-519-5535. Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, the applicant must clearly write "Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Missing and Exploited Children Training and Technical Assistance Program."

Due Date

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the original and five copies of the application package are received by 5 p.m. ET on July 6, 1998.

Contact

For further information, call Ron Laney, Director, Missing and Exploited Children's Program, 202-616-7323, or send an e-mail inquiry to laney@ojp.usdoj.gov.

References

Collins, J. 1993. Law Enforcement Policies and Practices Regarding Missing Children and Homeless Youth. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Finkelhor, D., et al. 1990. Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in America, First Report: Numbers and Characteristics, National Incidence Studies. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Girdner, L., and Hoff, P., eds. 1993. Obstacles to the Recovery and Return of Parentally Abducted Children. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1993.

Hatcher, C., Barton, C., and Brooks, L. Forthcoming. Families of Missing Children: Psychological Consequences. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Hatcher, C., Barton, C., and Brooks, L. 1993. The Reunification of Missing Children Project. Unpublished final report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 1994. Title IV Missing and Exploited Children's Program long range plan and FY 95 program priorities; Notice. Federal Register (October 12).


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