Over 900 Children Must Cope with the Horror of Caylee Anthony

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Each school day more than 900 children must pass by the site where Caylee Anthony's remains were found, creating concerns over emotional trauma, incident management, and school recovery. School Safety Partners is urging Hidden Oaks Elementary School and other service organizations to apply for U.S. Department of Justice grant funding to help restore the Orange County, Florida, community.

Homicide Victim Caylee Marie Anthony

No child should have to go through this.

Each school day more than 900 children must pass by the site where Caylee Anthony's remains were found, creating concerns over emotional trauma, incident management, and school recovery. School Safety Partners is urging Hidden Oaks Elementary School and other service organizations to apply for U.S. Department of Justice grant funding to help restore the Orange County, Florida community.

According to School Safety Partners, a national volunteer group in Denver that promotes long-term funding for school safety best practices, Federal funding is urgently needed to help Orange County address the mental health needs of the school children and the staff.

The group also recommends a review of incident management related to lockdown and parent-child reunification when the area next to the school became a crime scene.

On Friday, the Orange County Sheriff's Office identified the tiny skeleton found in the wooded area at the entrance to the predominantly Hispanic school as that of Caylee Anthony, a two-year-old girl who lived just around the corner only months ago.

When her remains were first discovered on Thursday, December 11, the school conducted a preventive lockdown to minimize classroom disruption. Confusion erupted when the sheriff's office closed the nearest intersection which prevented parents from picking up their children after school.

Caylee could have started attending pre-kindergarten at Hidden Oaks Elementary School as early as 2009. Her untimely death has been ruled a homicide, and her mother, Casey Anthony, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Sheriff Kevin Beary called the tragedy "an open wound in the community" and said, "No child should have to go through this."

School Safety Partners calls this a teachable moment for the nation and is reaching out to help find recovery funding for the school as well as others who have taken a leadership role in the Caylee Anthony case since her disappearance several months ago.

The group will monitor funding sources throughout the upcoming year, but has already identified 4 immediate grant opportunities offered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).

Enhancing Public Awareness and Outreach for Victims in Underserved Communities - This program will grant 5 awards of up to $75,000 each to raise awareness among underserved populations regarding victims' rights and available resources for crime victims in the local community. Application deadline: January 22, 2009.

Action Partnerships for National Membership, Professional and Community Service Organizations - A competitive program that will award up to five cooperative agreements of $100,000 each for a national nonprofit professional and community service organization that has the capacity to conduct a national scope project to promote awareness and advocacy for the rights and needs of crime victims. The project should expand the members' knowledge and understanding of issues related to serving crime victims, and encourage members who work with crime victims to integrate this information into their daily practices. Application deadline: January 21, 2009.

2010 NCVRW Resource Guide - A competitive program that will award one cooperative agreement of $225,000 for either a private nonprofit organization or a public agency to produce a comprehensive resource kit. The kit will serve as a resource for the victims' field to use in supporting efforts to heighten the public's awareness of crime victim issues during National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) in April 2010 and throughout the year. Application deadline: January 12, 2009.

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims - OVC will make one award of $150,000 to fund the development of a national public awareness and educational forum focusing on the rights of and issues faced by survivors of homicide victims. The forum, which will coincide with the 2009 National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims on September 25, 2009, should involve a broad base of victim constituency groups and focus on sharing knowledge and resources so that victims and survivors may be better served. Applicants are limited to private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community-based organizations, and public agencies. Application deadline: December 30, 2008.

School Safety Partners is an all-volunteer organization that assists in drafting and implementing model school safety legislation, and promoting long-term school safety funding through public-private partnerships. School Safety Partners is not accepting donations related to Caylee Anthony or Orange County, Florida. However, it is providing free assistance and resources to organizations interested in helping restore the Hidden Oaks Elementary School community.

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John Simmons
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