JRI receives national grant to expand trauma-informed care nationwide

Justice Resource Institute (JRI), a leading social justice organization in New England, has received a $600,000 federal grant to help residential treatment centers across the country improve care for trauma-impacted youth and their families.

The grant, awarded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration, will support building a trauma-informed workforce for residential treatment centers nationwide through the Building Resilience through Residential Communities project.

Dr. Hilary Hodgdon, Director of Research at JRI, and Kristine Kinniburgh, Director of Trauma Services for JRI Connecticut, will co-lead the project in collaboration with JRI’s training department.

Building Resilience will bring trauma-informed care approaches and evidence-based practices to 24 residential treatment centers across the United States and U.S. territories. Over five years, the program will train more than 6,000 professionals, including direct care, mental health, medical and educational staff. The grant also will address staff wellness and resiliency, recognizing the challenges of working in residential settings.

Trauma-informed care takes into consideration the impact that emotional trauma, such as abuse, neglect or loss of a parent, can have on a young person. Researchers at JRI develop, test and train treatment approaches to help children and adolescents overcome the traumas that often result in acting-out behaviors, poor academic performance and other symptoms.

JRI also runs 10 residential schools, as well as several group homes, dedicated to helping young people overcome trauma and reach their full potential. In all, the agency has over 100 programs, helping more than 10,000 underserved youth, families and communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

"I applaud Justice Resource Institute for embracing innovative methods of addressing youth trauma and congratulate them on this grant,” said Congressman Jake Auchincloss, D-MA. “By creating communities and treating children with the individual care they deserve, JRI has embraced a model that combines compassion and science in a pursuit to reimagine mental health care. For this they should be commended.”

In addition to training staff, Building Resilience will support wide scale implementation of JRI’s Building Communities of Care model, which is designed to address the unique needs of residential centers. To improve client outcomes, it will increase access to evidence-based practices, including Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC), a framework co-created by Kinniburgh for intervention for youth and families who have experienced multiple or prolonged traumatic stress.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious grant,” said Kari Beserra, Executive Vice President at JRI. “It recognizes JRI’s leadership in developing treatments for traumatized youth, as well as staff training and concern for staff wellness. It will help ensure that more children and adolescents nationwide have access to the effective care they deserve so that they can go on to live full lives.”


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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.