UPDATE: There will be no REMS funding in 2011. For more information on REMS funding and alternative grant programs, read our latest REMS update here, published April 7th, 2011.
The Department of Education's Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) program awards grant funding to schools to improve their emergency preparedness. Threats to school and student safety are numerous, so to help schools recognize viable focuses, REMS reports on "emerging issues." REMS recently announced their newest emerging issues - human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
How this focus will be reflected in the 2011 REMS guidelines remains to be seen, but the REMS Technical Assistance Center has released a set of identifying markers to help schools identify potential victims of human trafficking. Identifying factors include
- Students with unexplained absences from school for a period of time
- Students that are unable to attend school on a regular basis
- Students that are chronic run-aways
- Signs of physical trauma, such as bruising
- Signs of mental trauma, such as depression, fear, or withdrawn behavior
- Signs of mal-care, including hunger, malnourishment, or inappropriate dress in relation to weather conditions
- Signs of drug addiction
If you suspect that your district has a human trafficking problem, the Department of Education suggests you immediately contact the police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Center for Missing and Expoilted Children. You may also consider applying for a REMS grant to help your district form a comprehensive plan to address the problem.
The REMS grant program is open to all U.S. public schools (including consortiums) and provides grant funding to help keep schools safe. The Grant Helpers writes a number of successful REMS grants a year. If you're interested in finding out more about the REMS program, contact us or download our free assessment tool, Is REMS Right for You?