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New Staff Hired for HCRS Police Social Work Programs

HCRS is pleased to announce the recent hiring of two new Community Support Specialists for its Police Social Work program. Kristin Neuf will be working with the Brattleboro Police Department and Donna Burns has been hired for the Springfield Police Department.

The Police Social Work program provides service coordination to individuals referred by the Police Department or other 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. HCRS Police Social Work staff are co-located at police departments and help 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.

Kristin Neuf brings with her a wealth of experience from her work in both the mental health field and in corrections. Neuf graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received a Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling from Westfield State University. She has worked at United Counseling Service as a Foster Care Social Worker and at Bennington Parole & Probation, as a Probation Officer. Kristen also worked in the Psychiatric Program at Berkshire Medical Center for sixteen years. She has additional experience working as a Chemical Dependency Counselor/ Case Manager with incarcerated inmates.

Donna Burns brings to HCRS a solid background in mental health including many years of service in the community. She has taught life skills to people with disabilities, helping them to find job training and employment. She has experience working with adults with mental illness on the inpatient psychiatric unit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. She has also worked as a Probation and Parole Officer for the Vermont Department of Corrections as well as for the KEY program (for young adults on probation) in Massachusetts. Donna has a BA in Sociology with a Criminal Justice Program from Western New England University and an MA from American International College.

Originally started in Bellows Falls in 2002, the Police Social Work program has been honored by the Secretary of the Vermont 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.