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

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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4 min read

Foster Care with a Partner: Can one partner be the only foster parent?

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on August 8, 2019

Foster Care with a Partners: Can one partner be the only foster parent?

From time to time, we receive calls and contacts from people interested in becoming foster parents, but their partners are not interested in doing so.  Often, the partner is willing to let the caller try fostering, but does not plan to be involved and is not planning to be an active participant in the fostering process.  What do we say?

Fostering is a

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6 min read

Taking Time: The Right to Respite for Foster Families

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on July 23, 2019

“Mommy Wine Time” seems an increasingly common piece of our culture.  Memes about the frustrations of parenting populate social media.  Mom's Night Out Groups are popping up.  Man Caves are a thing.  Parents are tired.  Parents are venting. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It is a pressure release valve and we all need that.

Recognizing when you need a break, recognizing when things are hard, recognizing when you may LOVE the little people you

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8 min read

Aging Out: Changing the Statistics for Youth Exiting Foster Care

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on July 18, 2019

How do you get electricity for your new apartment?  How do you open an account with a cable provider?  How do you open a bank account?  What is a credit score?  How do you know which credit card is right for you?  How do student loans work?  How do you find a career and know if it is right for you?  What is a livable wage in your area and what jobs will provide that?

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5 min read

Self Esteem and Foster Parents

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on June 21, 2019

It is an undertaking that can be hard on the heart.  When we mention good self-esteem as a quality we seek for potential foster parents, people often give us a quizzical look.  Why would that matter?  Well, let’s explore that.

Gaining Contol

When kiddos lack control in life, they often seek to find ways to create control.  For children placed in foster care, all of the control of their lives has been stripped away.  Where

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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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