JRI/COVID-19 Navigator

Do you have a question about how JRI services, related to COVID-19 or otherwise?

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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Foster Care

2 min read

To Raise A Child

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on February 13, 2020

I love words (which should be of no surprise to those of you who follow this blog- I use a lot of them!).  The words we choose, the phrases that have become engrained in our cultures mean so much.

“To raise a child.”  It is such a common statement.  But what does it mean?  Why not “build a child,” “complete a child,” “construct a child,” or something else that describes the work and effort that

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5 min read

Foster Care: A World Unknown

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on January 24, 2020

They tore around the large room.  Blocks were immediately turned into missiles, beverages on tables grabbed, anything within reach grabbed.  Their eyes darted around, yet they avoided eye contact at all costs.  We were unknown, this place was unknown.

“Is it always like this?” I asked, breathless after chasing down my work phone which had nearly gone airborne.

“Since they arrived, yes…It’s like they’ve never been in a house before,” Foster Mom said, catching a

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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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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

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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