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 Parent

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

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 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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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

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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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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4 min read

He Needs Us

By Courtney Edge-Mattos on June 14, 2019

They arrived home in tears.

“He needs us, Miss J, he needs to be here!!!”

Our foster mom, Miss J, didn’t know what words to say to comfort the sobbing little girls in her kitchen.  CFC parents are limited to two placements, so the girls’ brother was placed elsewhere. 

The visit had been horrible, worse than usual.  Their mom, pregnant with a new child, explained she wasn’t taking them back, she was signing over her

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