An estimated 60% of children in the United States are exposed to violence, crime and/or abuse each year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. How those children and their families are cared for by first responders sometimes during and immediately after a crime can have a significant impact on their ability to recover from trauma and to move forward and thrive within the community.
Recognizing the need for best-practice tools for dealing with people in crisis, Family Service of Rhode Island – a comprehensive human-service agency with a 125-year track record – partnered with the Providence Police Department to create the Go-Team Police Partnership. This groundbreaking program deploys a Family Service trauma-trained expert on patrols with police to provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, stabilization, safety planning, language support and follow-up services, as needed, during instances of sexual assault reports, human trafficking, homicide, suicide, domestic violence, child maltreatment and other crimes.
Based on the Child Development-Community Policing Model, which was developed at Yale University, the Go-Team addresses each victim’s unique needs to mitigate the trauma and behavioral issues that often spiral out of control in the wake of violence. It is the only emergency response program and the only Yale University-inspired Child Development-Community Policing Program in the state.
“The Go-Team program has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island. “Of the more than 300 people served each year, 89% report satisfaction with the assistance received and 81% said they would be more likely to contact the police for help in the future.
“Police officers also enthusiastically support the program because it enables them to build trust with the community and improves how residents perceive the work they do. We’ve replicated the Go-Team model with the East Providence and Rhode Island State Police Departments. We’re also hoping to use our success as a platform to inform national conversations on crime response.”