NJ receives $6 million for trauma recovery centers

Public Safety. A new initiative will replicate a proven UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Model, where medical care will include treating the mental and emotional effects that trauma injuries place on victims.

01 Nov 2019 | 01:18

    Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the Attorney General’s Office is offering $6 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to qualified applicants to establish up to four Trauma Recovery Centers, which will provide comprehensive mental health and support services to heal and assist crime victims in vulnerable, under served populations that have historically been difficult to reach.

    Each applicant seeking to establish one of the four demonstration sites for the NJ Trauma Recovery Center Program may apply for up to $1.5 million in VOCA funds. The grants will fund the centers for 16 months from Jan. 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021. Each Trauma Recovery Center (TRC) must use the proven University of California San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center model. The Attorney General’s Office has secured the services of the founder of that model, Dr. Alicia Boccellari, Ph.D., Director of Special Programs at the UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center, to provide training and technical assistance to all selected grantees.

    The TRC model recognizes that many crime victims do not receive the comprehensive post-trauma treatment and mental health services needed to heal their emotional and physical wounds, particularly if they are members of vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, the chronically mentally ill, the disabled, LGBTQ people, people of color, members of immigrant and refugee groups, those living in poverty, and juvenile victims, including those who have had contact with the juvenile dependency or juvenile justice system.

    “Victims of violence suffer devastating physical and emotional wounds, and far too many go without the treatment and support they need to heal because of cultural, economic, and personal barriers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The costs to victims and society of this untreated trauma are tremendous, in terms of risk of re-victimization, mental health issues, medical costs, and loss of wages and stable housing. With the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program, we are implementing a model that has a proven track record....Through this program, we will reduce cycles of violence and promote public safety.”

    “There’s a wise saying that hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people,” said Elizabeth E. Ruebman, who was appointed by the Attorney General to review and strengthen victims services statewide.

    Eligible TRC grant applicants must provide a staff of clinicians, including a clinical director, at least one social worker, at least one licensed psychologist, and at least one licensed psychiatrist on staff or contracted. These multidisciplinary teams will engage in aggressive outreach to offer victims comprehensive services, with case management coordinated through a single point of contact. Applicants may include a combination of public agencies, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, and qualified public or nonprofit colleges or universities. The Trauma Recovery Center model emphasizes an attitude of “cultural humility” on the part of TRC staff and an awareness that a victim’s culture and identity may affect his or her views on being a victim and receiving mental health treatment.

    All grantees will use the UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center Manual, which outlines core elements.

    The Notice of Available Funds for the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link: https://www.nj.gov/oag/grants.htm

    The TRCs that will be established under the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program will complement Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, Family Justice Centers, and other victim services programs already established or being launched in New Jersey.

    In September, Attorney General Grewal announced $20 million in VOCA funding to establish nine new hospital-based or hospital linked violence intervention programs across New Jersey. Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs) reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence right at the time of crisis and are proven to reduce repeat injury. They seek to leverage the trauma and its aftermath as a teachable moment, when medical treatment and recovery services can be combined with education, counseling, social services, and case management to change attitudes about guns and violence in a way that can prevent future involvement in violence.