Community

Services Available for Connecticut Families

a bunch of people's hands all together in one signifying unity and collaborationConnecticut Council of Family Service Agencies (CCFSA) is strengthening Connecticut communities and collectively serves more than 180,000 families, making them one of the largest associations of community-based human services for children, adults and families. All members are nationally accredited, nonprofit, human service agencies. Together they form a collaborative statewide system of support for all phases of family life, working with government and philanthropy to meet our mission.

The Victims of Crime Case Management Program (VOCA) is one service offered.

Program Description

•   VOCA Case Management (CM) is funded through the Office of Victim Services and administered by CCFSA (Connecticut Council Of Family Service Agencies) to address an identified need of case management services for victims of crime

•   VOCA CM provides holistic case management services to promote safety, self-sufficiency, and resiliency for persons in CT who have suffered, directly or indirectly, a physical, emotional, or personal loss as a result of a criminal act

•   VOCA CM offers community-based or home-based visits depending on the preference and need of the client

•   VOCA CM will promote equitable access to services and a continuum of care through coordination with CCFSA partner agencies across the state

*Case management services are offered for up to a year, depending on clients’ need

Referrals

•   Clients can be referred internally through United Services, or externally through other community organizations, local law enforcement, hospitals, schools, etc.

•   Participation in VOCA CM is voluntary and clients should be aware of referral

•   Anyone can access the following URL to make referrals:

Willimantic/Norwich area https://tinyurl.com/VOCAintakeCCDN

Dayville/Wauregan/Mansfield : https://tinyurl.com/VOCAintakeUS

•   Using the URL is preferred to capture all necessary information, but referrals can be made in-person, over phone, or over email

•   Referral form is extensive in order to capture victimization history, safety concerns, and needs of client

•   Case manager will attempt to reach client within 24-72 hours after referral is made

Eligibility

•   Participation in VOCA CM will be based on the client meeting at least one of the following:

•   The victimization occurred in CT

•   The victim lived in CT when the victimization occurred and/or

•   The victim lived in CT at the time services were sought

•   No age requirements; if client is a minor or disabled, case manager will work with the entire family unit to provide case management services

•   No time limit; does not matter how long ago the crime occurred, just that the crime is still affecting the client’s functioning

•   It is not necessary for the crime to have been reported to receive case management services

•   DCF-involved youth and/or their foster families can receive case management services

•   Can work with victims even if they have a criminal history themselves

Eligible Crimes for Case Management

•   Adult physical assault

•   Adult sexual assault

•   Adult sexually abused/physically abused as child

•   Arson

•   Bullying (verbal, physical, cyber)

•   Burglary, robbery

•   Child physical or sexual abuse, neglect

•   Elder abuse or neglect

•   Domestic violence, teen dating violence

•   Child pornography or exploitation

•   Hate crime

•   Human trafficking (labor or sex)

•   Identity theft/fraud/financial crime

•   Kidnapping (custodial or non-custodial)

•   Mass violence, terrorism

•   DUI/DWI incident, “hit and run”

•   Stalking/harassment

•   Survivors of homicide victims

•   Other

Services We Provide

•   Intake and assessment are completed to identify client’s level of need and what services they are seeking assistance with

•   Goal-setting and empowering victims to reach goals and complete follow-up

•   Assistance with finding housing (shelter or permanent), employment and vocational training, child or adult education, state benefits and/or insurance, child-care, parenting education, pregnancy services, medical/dental services, mental health/counseling services, and much more

•   The case manager will assist client by making referrals to other agencies and providers, helping client complete applications, identifying and utilizing local resources, and helping client establish a good community support system for when case management services end

•   Assistance navigating civil or criminal court system

•   Applications for victim compensation

Victim Compensation Program

•   Office of Victim Services compensation program provides three types of compensation:

•   Crime victims who have suffered physical injuries – $15,000 maximum

•   Crime victims who have suffered emotional injuries – $5,000 maximum

•   Survivors of homicide victims – $25,000 maximum

•   To be eligible, crimes must be reported within 5 days of the occurrence, or within 5 days of “when a report could reasonably be made”

•   Crimes must be reported to law enforcement, court system (if client applies for a restraining or civil protective order) or DV/sexual assault crisis center

•   Compensation applications must be filed within 2 years of the crime

•   Expenses covered: health insurance co-pays and deductibles, medical bills, prescription bills, lost wages, crime scene clean-up, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, alarm system installations, etc.

Other important information:

If the client is in immediate crisis, please contact 911.

Farm to School Month

It’s here! National Farm to School Month, which means its time for the HardCORE Challenge – eat a #CTGrown Apple or Pear to the CORE!


Follow this link to find an Orchard near you.

Fall is the quintessential time to visit a farm with apple and pear picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, cider donuts and so much more!

We will be celebrating local agriculture the whole month – CT Grown for CT Kids Week is October 7-11th with National School Lunch Week October 14-18th. Check out the National Farm to School month toolkit  for wonderful ideas to celebrate the whole month!

Learn more, find recipes, and see participating schools at the website for Put Local On Your Tray.

Information About EEE from CVMDL at UConn

mosquito biting a person
2003
CDC/James Gathany
Photographer: James Gathany
This is an Ochlerotatus triseriatus mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human hand.
Also known as Aedes triseriatus, and commonly known as the ”treehole mosquito”, this species is a known West Nile Virus vector.
Photo by James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a disease caused by a virus that mosquitos transmit. The name of the disease is misleading in that this virus can infect and cause disease in humans and a wide variety of animal species, including birds as well as horses and other equids. Horses that have not been vaccinated for EEE die within days of being infected as there is no treatment. There is an effective equine vaccine for EEE, however not for other species. Researchers and veterinarians UConn’s Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) encourage equine owners to consider vaccinating their animals, and other animal owners to implement measures to reduce mosquito habitats and thereby potential contact with mosquitos.

Mosquitos that feed on infected wild birds transmit EEE to horses and humans. Once infected, the virus attacks the central nervous system of the host. For horses, disease signs usually appear within five days and the clinical signs include fever, a dull or sleepy appearance, muscle twitches, and a weak staggering gait. Fatality in horses is 90% or higher as horses often go down and are unable to stand again, and those that do survive may have permanent brain damage.

EEE is transmitted by two main types of mosquito vectors; the primary vector and the bridging vector. Culiseta melanura, the primary vector which feeds almost exclusively on birds, serves to amplify and maintain the virus within wild bird populations. Other mosquito species, which indiscriminatingly feed on birds, horses, and humans, serve as the bridging vector capable of transmitting EEE from wildlife to horses and humans.

With the location of horse barns and pastures in rural areas the animals have increased exposure to mosquitos. Horses cannot pass EEE to humans, or to other horses, and are therefore referred to as a dead-end host. If an infected mosquito bites a human, that person can be infected and may develop disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, illness in humans due to EEE is rare, but when disease develops, it is serious.

Proactive steps can be taken to prevent EEE virus infection in humans and horses. A vaccine is available for horses, talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating annually for EEE. Mosquito control techniques include eliminating standing water, cleaning water troughs weekly, avoiding mosquito-infested areas, and using insect repellent.

CVMDL, part of the Department of Pathobiology in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, is on the frontlines of research and testing to keep humans and animals safe. For more information visit http://cvmdl.uconn.edu or call 860-486-3738.

 

Reference

LSU Ag Center Research and Extension: http://www.lmca.us/PDF/pub2834eee.pdf

Registration Open for CT Trail Symposium

trail symposium header showing person's feet walking in woods and logos of sponsors

We in Connecticut, over the last decade, have made great progress in building and connecting our trail systems.  So much so that the Connecticut Greenways Council believes now is the time to celebrate and shout about our trail systems assuring that all members of our communities can gather, recreate, relax, run errands and even commute or travel together. This year, the Symposium hopes to offer sessions that focus on engaging with state and local tourism and marketing resources as well as technology that can maximize effective delivery of your trail information.

Shout it Out! The Connecticut Trails Symposium is Thursday, October 24th at Goodwin College in East Hartford. We have a lineup of trails and tourism workshops and presenters for attendees. Registration is open – see the full agenda and register to attend at https://cttrails.uconn.edu/2019symposium/

Co-sponsors include: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut Forest & Park Association, and Connecticut Greenways Council.

Fall Updates from UConn Extension

food, health and sustainability venn diagram

UConn Extension is pleased to share the following updates with you:

  • An update on the strategic planning process for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, as well as internal re-organization of Extension program teams.
  • Our UConn CLEAR program worked with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on a sea level rise model map viewer, and a webinar is being offered on October 16th.
  • UConn Extension, and our Connecticut Trail Census program will be at the Connecticut Trails Symposium on Thursday, October 24th at Goodwin College in East Hartford.
  • We have two part-time positions open at the Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington. Applications are due by Thursday, October 3rd.
  • We are growing food and health with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Ledyard through a USDA-NIFA grant.

Read all of our updates.

NRCA Student Identifies New Bat Species

Aiden photographing the batUConn’s Conservation Training Partnership (CTP) program within the Natural Resources Conservation Academy pairs teen and adult volunteers together to conduct local community conservation projects throughout the state.
 
One of our current teams is working on a project to help raise awareness about bats in the northwest corner of Connecticut for the Kent Land Trust and Marvelwood School. CTP participants Laurie Doss and Aiden Cherniske recently took an exciting detour from their project to help state wildlife rehabilitators, Linda Bowen and Maureen Heidtmann, photograph a bat to determine its species identification.
 
Using macrophotography techniques, Aiden was able to capture an image of the bat’s tragus – a piece of skin in front of the ear canal and an important feature in identifying bats to species.
 
The photographs were sent to state and federal wildlife officials, and used to help confirm that the bat raised in rehabilitation was indeed a federally threatened Northern Long Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Fortunately, the bat survived the rehabilitation efforts and was able to be released back into its natural environment.

Job Openings

Extension banner

Join us! We have two part-time positions open, both located in our Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington. We are seeking a part-time program aide, and a part-time Extension eLearning developer. Apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs/ – click on staff, and search Job IDs 2020125 and 2020126.

Master Gardeners Help Community with Peoples Harvest Garden

  • vegetables in a row in the garden

The Peoples Harvest Garden in Pomfret is just one of the tremendous projects that UConn Extension Master Gardeners and UConn Extension support and participate in. The garden was started by the Windham County Master Gardeners in 2005, is still going strong, and all produce grown is donated to local kitchens that serve those in need. Typical totals for the season are between three and four thousand pounds of fresh produce. The garden serves as a demonstration project for food security an a destination for local schools to volunteer. Using natural practices, shoestring budget, and a lot of effort- the garden also demonstrates effective use of pollinator pathways and proper cultural practices for vegetable crops. 

 

Water Testing in Connecticut

water being put into test tubes with a dropper in a water test situation

Water is part of everything that we do. We are frequently asked about water testing, septic system maintenance, and fertilizing lawns. The Connecticut Institute of Water Resources, a project with Natural Resources & the Environment, has resources for homeowners: http://ctiwr.uconn.edu/residential/

#AskUConnExtension

UConn Extension is Growing Food and Health with the Mashantucket Tribe

“The mission statement of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN) states they will ‘…establish a social, cultural and economic foundation that can never be undermined or destroyed…,’” says Tribal Councilor Daniel Menihan, Jr. MPTN was facing challenges growing their fruits and vegetables at a scale to meet the tribe’s needs on their land in Ledyard, and some members were struggling with diabetes.

UConn has enjoyed a long history of engagement with members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal community. Many members have graduated from UConn and served on the UConn Foundation Board, among others. Despite the fact that there is an Extension office only 10 miles from the reservation, MPTN has rarely participated in any educational outreach or training offered by UConn Extension.

UConn Extension received the four-year Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) grant from USDA-NIFA with the goal of having the tribe share their ideas for growing food and health, and help them learn about the Extension resources that are available. As a result of the grant, the relationship between MPTN and UConn is strengthening, and there is growth in agricultural production, food security, and health for the tribal people.

heirloom tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes grown by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Photo: Noah Cudd

“MPTN is still learning, but they are now able to grow their own food, in what looks like a commercial setting,” states Shuresh Ghimire, PhD, Vegetable Crops Extension educator and principal investigator on the grant. “They have high tunnels, a rototiller, a plastic mulch layer, and cold storage, which are common tools for a commercial farm.”

Extension provides expertise through one-on-one consultation, and classroom and hands-on training on-site in a collaborative setting. Educational outreach addresses the following critical areas identified by the MPTN Council:

  1. Improve food security
  2. Improve economic viability
  3. Improve youth engagement and communications
  4. Improve nutrition and diabetes awareness through collaborative education

An Extension program involving several specialists in fruit and vegetable production, farm business management, marketing, 4-H youth development, health and nutrition, communications, evaluation and assessment is working with the MPTN on their goals. Tribal members are participating in other Extension programs, beyond the scope of the grant. A 4-H club is being established at MPTN to increase opportunities for youth.

“Once this grant came, we started working with UConn Extension Educators. There has been a substantial gain in the knowledge and skills regarding growing food, writing a business plan, nutrition, and health,” says Jeremy Whipple, a MPTN member.

Growing with MPTN

Extension provides education for MPTN in state-of-the-art sustainable vegetable and fruit production techniques, and through

people in the greenhouse at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
UConn Extension educators work with members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in a high tunnel. Photo: Shuresh Ghimire

collaboration with MPTN, is melded with traditional and historical tribal farming methods. This provides MPTN with a means to continue the richness of their history while moving into modern sustainable farming economically.

Tribal youth are included in all aspects of the agricultural venture with the tribe’s expectation that several youth will develop major roles in the business venture. Two tribal youth are being paid by the grant to work in vegetable production at MPTN.

“Learning how to grow tomatoes, including pest management, is one of the many things I enjoy working with on this grant” Ernest Pompey, one of the tribal youths working on this grant says. “I am excited to share what I learned about growing and eating healthy food to other youth in my community.”

“The tribe also established a community garden where they bring other youth from the community to teach them about growing. The knowledge is expanding within their own community, and they are teaching each other now,” Shuresh says.

making the three sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket tribe
Extension educators make the Three Sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

UConn Extension’s nutrition team is working with the tribal community health providers to deliver educational programming in healthy eating and diabetes prevention using classroom education, and hands-on learning in the selection and preparing of healthy food, and exercise through gardening. The goal is to reduce the risk and incidence of diabetes in the tribal community.

“The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) utilizes a hands-on approach to nutrition education, combining nutrition knowledge with enhancement of skills to apply this knowledge to prepare healthy foods that are convenient, affordable and culturally appropriate,” says Mike Puglisi PhD, RD, state EFNEP director. “Erica Benvenuti, New London County nutrition educator, taught children in the MPTN High 5 Program the importance of food safety and increasing vegetable intake, and enhanced learning through getting the children involved in preparation of a traditional recipe prepared by the MPTN, the Three Sisters Rice recipe.”

The grant is starting its third year, and another Extension educator is working with tribal youth and adults in developing a business plan for the agricultural venture to increase their success rate. Youth and adults are also learning about their agricultural history and how it can successfully be integrated into today’s modern sustainable agriculture by combining classes with in-field learning experience.

“Ultimately, after the grant ends, MPTN’s farm will operate as a commercial vegetable farm would in terms of production and reaching out to Extension when they do need help. They will be independent, and continue growing their operation to support the goals of the tribal nation,” Shuresh states.

Article by Stacey Stearns and Shuresh Ghimire