A new VCU-led project will support high-risk youth transitioning out of incarceration

Project Belong will provide mental health, education and vocational support to 75 youth transitioning out of Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University is launching a project to provide supported employment, trauma counseling, peer support and case management for youth and young adults with behavioral health disorders who are transitioning out of a Richmond-area juvenile correctional facility. 

Project Belong — or “Building Educational and empLoyment Opportunities through trauma-informed re-eNtry planninG” — will provide in-facility and community-based services to 75 high-risk young adults with behavioral health disorders who are transitioning from the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center. The services will supplement Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center’s current programs, and will continue for 12 months post-release.

The project’s overall objective is to provide a high-fidelity employment intervention that prepares youth and young adults psychologically, educationally and vocationally to enter into and maintain employment, said co-lead principal investigator Courtney Holmes, Ph.D., an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling in the VCU College of Health Professions and a certified clinical trauma professional.

Read more about Project Belong on VCU News.

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