In 2002, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) recognized Helping and Lending Outreach Support (HALOS) as a promising strategy for community collaboration to help child victims who are living in foster homes or with relatives. Impressed by this innovative approach and its potential benefits for maltreated children and their caregivers, OVC awarded funding to HALOS from 2002 to 2008 to help it achieve three goals:
- Add stability and structure to the organization, institutionalizing a framework and operating processes.
- Conduct a comprehensive, community-wide assessment of needs and resources and develop a long-range strategic plan for organizational growth and sustainability.
- Replicate the HALOS model and share lessons learned for improvement.
In 2008, OVC awarded funding for Ambassadors for Children (an operating agency for the Ozark Council of Churches) in Greene County, Missouri, and the Lancaster County (South Carolina) Department of Social Services' Lancaster County Partners for Youth to replicate the HALOS model in their respective communities. HALOS hosted a training conference in March 2008 to launch these new projects.
This toolkit offers lessons learned and suggests strategies for establishing programs like HALOS wherever foster families and relatives need additional support for the children in their care. It draws on information that was shared during the training conference and in subsequent communication with HALOS staff to explain key components of program development, implementation, and sustainability. It also includes sample forms and materials used by HALOS and the replicating organizations (see Toolkit Forms).