Clincal Coordinator, Bronx Community Solutions.
October has brought a number of exciting things to the Bronx Community Solutions clinic. On October 8th, a new specialized court part opened in the Bronx Criminal Court. The designated court part (AP8) has been created to identify women and men, charged with prostitution offenses, who are commercially exploited or at risk of exploitation. The goal of this court part is to provide linkages to services and assist defendants in moving forward and beyond the criminal justice system.
A BCS staff person is present in court to work with defendants and facilitate the court process. Melissa Novock, BCS’s Prostitution Diversion Program Manager, works with clients in the court part by providing screening assessments, monitoring court compliance and linking defendants to supportive services. Trauma-informed care is the main component, as a majority of defendants present with extensive trauma histories.
This new part is a collaborative effort of multiple court players. In working together, a criminal sentence will reflect fairness along with providing meaningful interventions.
The BCS clinic has other exciting news as well. Our Youth Justice Social Worker, Rebecca Stahl, took her Masters of Social Work licensing exam on 10/7/13. She passed with flying colors and is officially an LMSW! Congratulations, Rebecca!
Also this month, our Community Resource and Programs Manager, Monica Garcia, has been working hard to connect with a number of community organizations in an attempt to establish additional partnerships between BCS and community providers. She recently connected with The RISEProgram. RISE, a part of the New York Re-entry Network, is a workforce development initiative of the Police Athletic League (PAL). The program connects court-involved adolescents (ages 16-21) to a variety of services, including job- readiness workshops, paid internship and externships, permanent job placements, and educational services. Clients also engage in weekly individual and group counseling and receive retention incentives.
We are excited for this new opportunity and look forward to working with The RISE Program to provide BCS clients with much-needed services. We continue our search for other community providers and look forward to establishing additional partnerships in order to better serve our adolescent and adult populations.