Congressman David Cicilline and Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff today announced that the non-profit has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to reduce the impact of trauma on the state’s children.
Funding is from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Family Service of Rhode Island is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network site for Rhode Island.
The announcement took place in a therapy office at the agency’s Hope Street, Providence location. On the walls were messages from children receiving treatment for sexual abuse and other issues. The walls are a way for the children to communicate, anonymously, with other children receiving treatment. “…I know what happened to you is hard to handle sometime, because it was for me but you have to keep your head held high…” wrote one child.
The goals of the four year project include:
--An increased number of children receiving evidence-based trauma treatment throughout the state, with military families being a priority.
--Training 400 staff from government and non-profits across the state on trauma-informed practices in the project’s first year.
--Transforming the state’s child welfare system into a “trauma informed” system. In addition to the aforementioned staff training, this will happen through collaboration with local and national partners to perform a community assessment of the state’s child welfare system; development of an implementation plan; technical assistance addressing needs identified within the community assessment process; and other steps.
“This grant enables us to build on the work we started with then-Mayor David Cicilline nearly a decade ago, when we developed in partnership with him and the police department a 24/7 response to children at scenes of crime and violence,” said Holland McDuff. “We’re taking across the state what we’ve learned and accomplished in the City of Providence.”
"I was very pleased to support this critical grant which will provide Family Service of Rhode Island the ability to help children affected by trauma and exposed to violence by providing vital resources to better train government and nonprofit leaders about informed and effective methods of treatment,” said Congressman Cicilline."
“The Department of Children, Youth and Families looks forward to participating in the community assessment of the state's child welfare system, the development of a trauma-informed implementation plan, and, ultimately, services that recognize the role that trauma has in the lives of the children and families we serve,” said Janice DeFrances, Ed.D., director of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.
“This award by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network puts Rhode Island in the forefront of the development of best practices in trauma care and enables access to and training from the premier centers across the country,” said Susan Erstling, Ph.D., who heads Family Service of Rhode Island’s child trauma center. “We hope to bring this research, knowledge and their products to all practitioners in the state who serve families affected by trauma from abuse, violence and disasters.”
Family Service of Rhode Island is a non-profit human service and education agency. More information about the agency is available at www.familyserviceri.org.