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Lutheran Social Services of ND lead partner in Grand Forks Defending Childhood initiative


Grand Forks Awarded $2 Million Grant to lead National Program to Address Youth Exposure to Violence----

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded the City of Grand Forks $2 million from the Defending Childhood Initiative aimed at preventing and mitigating children’s exposure to violence. The city, along with the lead partners Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC), Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Public Schools and dozens of other local partners have developed a comprehensive plan based on a year-long community needs and resources assessment and strategic planning effort that encompassed Grand Forks County.

The Department of Justice named the local collaborative effort, known as Safer Tomorrows: Ending Childhood Exposure to Violence project, to be one of four demonstration sites nationwide to receive $2 million over the next two years to address the needs of children exposed to violence.

In Bismarck, United States Attorney Timothy Purdon said, “The Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative addresses the local and national crisis of children’s exposure to violence, whether as victims or as witnesses. We are very pleased that Safer Tomorrows program in Grand Forks has been chosen as one of the demonstration sites for this project. This initiative is a positive investment in the future of North Dakota’s children.”

This grant will fund prevention, intervention and public awareness activities in Grand Forks County addressing bullying, youth dating violence, exposure to domestic violence, child maltreatment, community violence and sexual assault. Initiatives to be included in the project encompass increasing primary prevention efforts in schools, implementing community awareness activities, enhancing rural access to services, strengthening delivery of services, training professionals, and coordinating a Safer Tomorrows Coalition to address childhood exposure to violence.

“This is a tremendous project for the community. It demonstrates our leadership in addressing tough issues, our commitment to young people and the strong spirit of collaboration we have in Grand Forks,” said Michael R. Brown, Grand Forks Mayor. “I am humbled to be a part of such a team effort and proud to have the chance to model programs that will impact children in communities across the nation, for generations to come.”

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About Safer Tomorrows Project

More than 50 individuals from 31 organizations in Grand Forks County are partners in the Safer Tomorrows collaborative, which is spearheaded by the City of Grand Forks and three local agencies: the Community Violence Intervention Center, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and the Grand Forks Public Schools.

For more information on Safer Tomorrows, please contact Julie Christianson, Coordinator, at or 701-746-0405.

Additional information about the Defending Childhood Initiative can be found at:

Our Impact This Year

  • People received help with immigration-related services


  • Problem gamblers who found help


  • Hours of training provided by Child Care Aware to early childhood workforce


  • Seniors provided with companionship in North Dakota


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