Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $413,000)
Family Service of Rhode Island's Go Team pairs trauma-trained, bilingual (English/Spanish/Portuguese) clinicians and social workers with police officers on patrol to respond to children's psychological distress following episodes of violence and other traumatic events. Research has shown that this model mitigates both the short- and long-term negative effects of children's trauma exposure. The Go Team Program is the only 24/7/365 emergency response program of its kind in the state.
Though formalized partnerships with the Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket, RI Police Departments, FSRI’s Go Team staff co-locate at the Departments, ride-along with officers on patrol during scheduled shifts, and, in Providence, are activated by police via a designated cell phone after hours and on weekends to provide full 24/7/365 support. FSRI staff carry police radios to be accessed immediately, attend Command Staff meetings and officer role calls, provide training for law enforcement on crisis stabilization, trauma exposure, and secondary traumatic stress, and also serve as trainers on these topics at police academies.
The Go Team focus is on keeping victims safe, informed, and emotionally capable of cooperating with police and emergency medical personnel. The predominance of the thousands of victims served since program inception in 2004 are children and youth of color living in our state’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Many speak English as a second language. FSRI Go Team staff most often help on calls for: 1) Domestics/Family Disputes; 2) Suspected abuse or neglect of children and child welfare removals; 3) Suspected sex trafficking, youth runaways/waywards; 4) Narcotics and illegal gun raids when children are likely to be present; 5) Infant deaths; 6) Violence within schools; and, 7) Parents arrested with children on scene.
FSRI’s proposed project will meet increased demand in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, RI for immediate assistance at crime scenes for these calls and evidence-based trauma treatment for child victims and their families. While FSRI Go Teams are already active in these communities, funding limitations have resulted in gaps unique to each community preventing full implementation. Specifically, Byrne funding will support additional clinical staff support in all three communities, including clinical assessment, trauma counseling, evidence-based mental health treatment, and linkage to substance misuse treatment; adding weekend on-call support in Pawtucket; and, adding a Victim Advocate to the Providence team to assist with victim follow up, connecting victims to benefits and community resources, and assisting victims in navigating the often complicated criminal justice system.