Family Service of Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Family Service of Rhode Island
PO Box 6688
Providence, RI 02940
Children who are exposed to domestic or community violence
A 15-year-old boy has been shot and lies on the sidewalk next to a busy Providence intersection. He is bleeding and yelling for help. The ambulance arrives and takes the injured youth as Melissa, a 4-year-old girl, observes everything.
Eric, a rookie police officer, watches her sob and huddle behind her mother, Rosa. He attempts to speak with Rosa, but she cannot understand him: she only speaks Spanish. Eric calls the Police Go Team and it sends Eileen, a bilingual social worker on staff, to meet Melissa and Rosa at the crime scene. A second social worker is dispatched to the hospital to work with the wounded boy and his family.
Eileen walks with Melissa and Rosa to their nearby apartment. Once inside, she helps calm Melissa. Rosa explains that three months ago Melissa heard gunshots and screams outside her daycare center. Ever since, she has been afraid to sleep and refuses to leave her mother's side. Rosa, too, is afraid. She is very concerned about the potential impact of this new scary incident on Melissa.
Eileen speaks to Rosa about the impact of exposure to violence on young children and some of the strategies that she may use to talk to Melissa about the incident and help her sleep better. Eileen continues to visit the family over the next few weeks. Ultimately, she refers Rosa to the Family Service of Rhode Island's Child Parent Psychotherapy program. Over the next few months, the program helps them re-establish a trusting relationship.
Throughout the process of working with Melissa and Rosa, Eileen provides follow-up information to the police, through phone reports and at their weekly command staff meetings.
Thanks to the partnership between the Providence Police Department and Family Service of Rhode Island, Melissa and Rosa are served in a coordinated manner.
Through the specialized training that he received as part of the Providence Go Team project, Eric is able to provide much more than handcuffs and arrests. He can also give understanding, empathy, and access to needed resources. Eileen referred the child to the Safe Start program, where the family was helped to heal.
Crisis intervention, identification, assessment, and referrals: A crisis response worker on the scene identifies families, addresses immediate crisis needs, and initiates follow-up and service referrals after an incident.
Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) Program: The Providence Police Go Team, which has been trained in the CD-CP program, provides crisis intervention 24/7 to children and families. The program, a national model of collaborative alliances among law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, medical and mental health professionals, child welfare agencies, schools, and other community groups, includes cross-training, follow-up home visits, and short- and long-term treatment interventions held in homes, neighborhoods, and schools.
Case management: The program plans and implements community supports for children and families exposed to violence. Family progress is reviewed and coordinated in weekly interdisciplinary case consultation meetings that include staff from domestic violence shelters, police, youth and family departments, and the Rhode Island Family Court.
Child Parent Psychotherapy: The program provides child-parent psychotherapy to children and families in 12 sessions.