Meet JRI's Service Navigator

Our Navigator personally answers questions and talks with you about resources that may be available in the community to meet your individualized needs. If you have any questions about our programs or services, or aren't sure what you need, contact our Service Navigator, Rachel Arruda, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.

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JRI Foster Care Blog

4 min read

Healing Home

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on January 21, 2020

Foster parents create healing homes.  They walk beside children who have experienced some of the deepest wounds and help them find their way through.  It takes courage, patience and love.  One of our amazing families shared their story recently.

 

“I think I need to talk to (social worker’s name).  Can you call her for me?” she asked, her eyes serious as they cleared the dishes from the table.

Foster mom recalled the immediate concern she

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4 min read

A Caring Community

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on January 14, 2020

We call an Uber or a Lyft for a ride to the airport.  We call AAA if we get a flat tire.  We call DoorDash if we are sick and don’t have the energy to cook a meal for our family.  We nod to our neighbors but don’t know their names or invite them in for coffee.  We connect with family and friends via social media, but rarely reach out in person.  The days are

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4 min read

A Healthy Brain and A Kind Heart

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on December 26, 2019

His scheduled visit was cancelled suddenly, leaving him in the school office. 

“Hi, Buddy is still here…Do you know if someone is coming to get him?”

There hadn’t been a message to let anyone know of the cancellation.  Foster mom thought he was at the DCF office.  Our Case Manager thought the same.  Buddy just knew he was waiting with the receptionist. 

She picked him up.  She’d met him twice before.  “Do you remember me?”

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4 min read

Forever

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on December 5, 2019

The courthouse was bustling with activity.  A digital sign welcomed families.  On the third floor, balloons bobbed, Storm Troopers doled out high fives and hugs, and photographers snapped away, capturing moments of joy.  Everyone was dressed in their finest, from little Mary Jane shoes on feet who could not yet walk to three piece suits and bow ties.  There was excitement, confusion, commotion, anxiety, and oh so much love.  Families waited for their turn to

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9 min read

Become a Licensed Foster Parent: References

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on October 25, 2019

Applying to Become a Licensed Foster Parent: References

There are many steps to becoming a licensed foster parent.  Background checks, obtaining documentation, attending MAPP class, and the homestudy.  One of the most over-looked and under-appreciated components of the study, however, is the reference section.

Agencies are required to obtain personal references, employer references, school references (if applicants have school-aged children in their home), and medical references.  Agencies may ask different questions on their forms, but

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3 min read

Little Miracle

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on October 1, 2019

Mrs. M was gone for two weeks.  She cried for the first two days, then checked in with the respite parents regularly.  “Is she doing okay?  Is she eating?  How is she sleeping?”

Mrs. A, respite parent for Mrs. M's 13 month old miracle baby (born substance exposed at 26 weeks gestation, in the hospital for nearly three months before her release to our foster parent, Mrs. M) carried Little Miracle into the office, beaming with delight. 

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3 min read

I'm Not Who I Was At Fifteen

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on September 20, 2019

I’m not who I was.  I’ve learned, I’ve experienced life, I’ve met new people who have helped make me the person I am in my current form.  My brain has grown and developed.  Difficult situations have arisen and I’ve survived them.  Wonderful moments have happened and I’ve cherished them.  If I’d experienced these same moments and situations at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, twenty-two, etc., I would have responded and reflected differently.  Because I’m not who I

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3 min read

An Inspiration and Reminder of the Power of Our Presence

By Robert Costa on September 10, 2019

Three years ago on the advice of a co-worker, I read the book A Chance in the World, written by Steve Pemberton and the book was both riveting and eye opening for all of us that work with children. I also had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Pemberton speak in person and was amazed at his resilience and description of the experiences that he had, while placed in foster care, as well as his

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3 min read

A School Year Wish

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on August 29, 2019

It is that time of year again.  Busses wheeze through neighborhoods, opening doors with a groan as students clatter into seats.  Playgrounds burble with excited shrieks and laughter as recess again takes over.  Lockers slam and reminders to walk, not run ring through previously silent hallways.  School is back in session.    

School has a unique place in a child’s life.  It is routine, predictable, regulated.  There is something very known about school.  Even a

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4 min read

Sink to Swim

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on August 15, 2019

His legs are visibly shaking.   There is a voice, off to the side, encouraging him, giving him pointers, supporting him.  Below is a woman, arms open, ready to catch him.  The child lurches to his knees, clinging to the diving board.  Eventually, he slowly lowers himself into the pool. 

In the next frame, he is taller, leaner.  His goggles are positioned on his face just so.  He strides with confidence to the end of the

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Foster Care...Foster Hope

A Blog to Support Foster Parents

Our foster care program is rooted in the principle that every child deserves to feel safe, to be nurtured, and to thrive. Our foster families and staff are committed to maximizing each child's potential within our stable and loving foster homes.

Remember:

  • Stable homes nurture neglected children.
  • Compassionate homes mend painful pasts.
  • YOUR home can change the life of a child.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please complete our foster care interest form.

Featured Posts

Preparing for An Arrival

You’ve taken the classes.  You’ve been fingerprinted, interviewed, reference-checked.  You’ve watched the “Removed” movie fourteen times.  You’ve read blogs and

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Helping Hands

There are so many wonderful people out there who want to support the children and families with whom we work. 

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