NAFI Connecticut, Inc., whose leadership also guides operations in Rhode Island and New York, has been buoyed by nearly $212,000 in recent grants, some resulting from rigorous application processes and others simply arriving as a surprise.
The grants include:
- $100,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation to support the COVID-related telehealth initiative
- $56,884 from The Champlin Foundation to purchase generators for two residential programs in Rhode Island
- $30,900 in federal coronavirus emergency funding, via the Connecticut Department of Education, for Touchstone School in Litchfield
- $24,000 from a donor-advised fund via the Fiduciary Charitable Foundation
“Receiving these funds greatly enhanced our ability to sustain critical services and programs during the pandemic, often in new and innovative ways,” said Lynn Bishop, Executive Director of NAFI CT, New York and Rhode Island. “We were able to ease the stress of COVID, and empower our wonderful, dedicated staff to remain focused on the mission of compassionately serving the needs of families and individuals.”
$100,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation
NAFI explained in seeking the grant that its Enhanced Outpatient Services (EOS) serve approximately 200 economically disadvantaged families throughout Rhode Island and employ more than 50 staff members who provide in-home services to Medicaid-eligible families that have a child (age 3-18) with severe behavioral or emotional problems.
“The program is time-limited and focuses on the development of management skills and natural supports to help families keep their children in the home and out of hospitals or other institutions,” the grant application said, noting that the program provides 10 to 20 hours of in-home therapeutic services weekly, and has a full-time researcher who assists the program in evaluating its effectiveness.
Employing master’s level staff that receive two hours of weekly clinical supervision, the model also enhances professional development.
In quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on the program, the grant application said, “The families served by EOS are economically disadvantaged and have limited resources to deal with the additional COVID-19 related stress created by having a behaviorally challenged youth home all day; maintaining stable employment; assuring that the youth participate in distance learning; and making sure that there is sufficient food and shelter.”
Social distancing requirements impacted the support systems and removed EOS from the home; even if office visits were possible, most families lack the logistical and financial resources to attend appointments. “Covid-19 has made our current form of service delivery completely impossible,” the application said, explaining that all logistical and clinical processes had to be reinvented to work harmoniously with telehealth, requiring the EOS team to develop effective skills to utilize telehealth to continue the program mission of strengthening families.
Telehealth services will extend beyond COVID-19 in a targeted process to bring the mission into homes not previously accessible to the EOS.
$56,884 from The Champlin Foundation
The Rhode Island-based Champlin Foundation grant funded the purchase of generators for two of NAFI RI’s residential programs, the Main Street Program in Warren and the Oakland Beach Program in Warwick. (See the separate story on efforts to upgrade the Main Street property.)
“Now, in case of a bad storm we don’t have move the residents to hotels,” said Cindy Martinez, Executive Finance Director for NAFI CT. “Having the ability to keep clients safe and in their homes during bad weather or power outages is a much better outcome for their well-being. ”
The Main Street Program is a 10-bed program for adolescent boys that uses the evidence-informed Lighthouse model in working to serve older adolescents that lack the potential to move to a foster home or family home. They receive living skills and support necessary to learn to live independently so that they do not become institutionalized while they wait to “age-out” of the system. This program is funded by the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF).
The Oakland Beach program is a 6-bed program for adolescent boys that employs the evidence-based Multidimensional Family (MDFT) Therapy model. It is just one of two in Rhode Island—the other is NAFI’s Ridge Street Program for adolescent girls—that specialize in working with teens with substance abuse and/or juvenile justice involvement, and is also funded by the DCYF.
$30,900 via the Connecticut Department of Education
Touchstone School received $30,900 in federal Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) funding from the Connecticut Department of Education for a series of technology upgrades.
Touchstone is a state-approved private special education school at the heart of a state-funded residential treatment program for young women involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems who are referred by the state Court Support Services Division (CSSD) or the Department of Children and Families (DCF). It also accepts a limited number of outside day students who are struggling in public school districts.
“Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, CSDE must prioritize EANS services or assistance to non-public schools that enroll low-income students and those most impacted by COVID-19,” the CSDE explained in a release announcing the application process for EANS aid.
The $30,900 grant funds:
- 6 Promethean boards at a cost of $15,000
- 25 new Chromebooks at a cost of $12,500
- GoGuardian educational monitoring software at a cost of $2,500
- 6 document cameras at a cost of $900
“Having this new and upgraded technology is transformative,” said Katie Ryan, the new principal at Touchstone. “Our students are technologically savvy and appreciate how the right tools support and enhance the learning process—and this new equipment provides vital affirmation to our students that they matter, and that their learning process and growth are important and valued.”
$24,000 from a Donor Advised Fund
A check for $24,000 from the Fiduciary Charitable Foundation (also known as Fiduciary Trust Charitable) on behalf of a donor advised fund simply arrived in the mail.
The donor’s only requirement was that the funds be used to further NAFI’s tax-exempt mission. The funds are in NAFI’s Enrichment Fund, which supports clients across the CT/NY/RI cluster.
“It was definitely a surprise,” Martinez said of the check. “It’s a nice reminder to those planning charitable gifts of the positive impact a gift to a nonprofit like NAFI can have on the lives of youth and families facing challenges.”
About NAFI CT
NAFI CT is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation, and individualized support services to youth, families, and adults in a variety of settings across Connecticut. Our core services include foster care, developmental services, residential treatment, and in-home services and consultations. We take a respectful and dignified approach to all care services, with the mission of empowering individuals and strengthening families. To learn more, call NAFI CT at 860.284.1177 or see the website at www.nafict.org.