PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A program that provides immediate support to people suffering from trauma in the Providence area is set to expand its services with a financial boost from the federal government.
Congressman David Cicilline and the Family Service of Rhode Island (FSRI) announced Tuesday $413,000 in federal funding for the Police Go Team, which helps children and families exposed to violence in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.
Through the program, on-call clinicians respond with police to scenes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health crises, among others. Social workers are also available to provide “comfort, de-escalation, and help to understand the justice system,” according to FSRI.
CEO Margaret Holland McDuff said mental health calls to the police increased by 68% in Providence in recent years.
“If that’s not a telling sign of need for the Go Team, I don’t know what is,” Holland McDuff said.
She also highlighted the impact the program has on children affected by violence.
“Approximately 40% of the victims we serve through the Go Team are children under the age of 17,” Holland McDuff said. “We know that research has proven that untreated trauma has lifetime consequences for children, and that is why the Go Team immediate response and services are so critical.”
The program was heavily funded by the Victims of Crime Act, according to FSRI, but over time, its budget was reduced.
Cicilline said the new funding comes from the omnibus spending bill recently enacted by President Joe Biden.