FORT LAUDERDALE — The Broward County Health Department announced it is receiving a grant for $1.75 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to participate in a violence prevention initiative aimed at preventing teen dating violence.

The grant, which is expected to cover five years, was announced on Sept. 13 by Vice President Joe Biden, the department said.

The department cited a national survey by the CDC showing that, across the country, one in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year. One in four reports verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual dating violence each year,

The grant will allow Broward County to join Baltimore, Chicago and Oakland/Hayward in developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive approach to prevent teen dating violence before it starts. 

The approach is expected to include evidence-based student and parent programs, educator training, local policy development and enhancement, and communications strategies like social networking and brand ambassadors.

“The Broward County Health Department, in partnership with the CDC and Broward County Public  Schools, is excited about the opportunity to lead the effort to prevent youth dating violence in our community,” Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the health department, said in the statement.

“The CDC funding will increase public health capacity and provide for the implementation of sustainable strategies,” she added.

The statement explained that the CDC developed the initiative, called Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships, which in its five-year demonstration phase, “will help the agency examine the cost, feasibility, sustainability and effectiveness of a comprehensive approach to teen dating violence in four high risk urban communities, including Broward County,” the statement said.

The CDC is also seeking “to build the health department’s capacity to become the primary agent for dating violence prevention programming in Broward County, implementing evidence-based violence prevention strategies as well as identifying risk factors for teen dating violence.”

“Teen violence is a serious yet preventable public health problem that requires a coordinated and comprehensive community response,” said Thaqi. 

For more information, call 954-467-4700 ext. 4002.