HCRS was recently awarded a two-year grant in the amount of $57,560 from the Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt Fund to expand its Police Social Work (PSW) Program. The PSW program provides service coordination to individuals referred by the Police Department or community providers in order to assist them in accessing social services. Often individuals come into contact with law enforcement as the result of an unmet social need. PSW staff make connections with community members and build a bridge between the community and mental health, substance abuse, and other services. Once these individuals receive needed social services they are less likely to come back in contact with law enforcement. Originally started in Bellows Falls over three years ago, the PSW program contributed to a 30% reduction in crime in that community. The PSW program has been honored by the Secretary of the Agency of Human Services, cited as a model program by the Act 80 Law Enforcement Advisory Board, recommended by the statewide Incarcerated Women’s Initiative report, and has received the 2005 Special Recognition award by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill of Vermont.
This funding enables HCRS to expand its Police Social Work Program to include the Springfield police department and the Windham County Sheriff’s Department.