Virginia CARES (Community Action Re-Entry System) is a heralded, statewide network of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) originally formed in 1981 to address the successful reentry and deinstitutionalization of returning citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Program initiatives include:
Emergency Support Services (e.g. shelter, food, clothing, and transportation)
Counseling Services are provided to devise short and long range plans for education, employment, and housing
Referrals for medical and legal assistance
Job Readiness Training, Job Search Skill Training, Resume Writing, and Interview Technique Skills Training
Virginia CARES, like the other PAPIS organizations, works to reduce recidivism and to provide education, job training and other support services to released individuals, an important part of the last three Governors’ enhanced emphasis on re-entry initiatives. In order to improve public safety outcomes Virginia CARES, in partnership with the other PAPIS providers and DCJS, has worked hard over the past several years to implement evidence-based practices. As a result, CARES can focus on data-driven results to reduce re-offending and further victimization, thus improving the public safety of Virginia’s communities. Virginia CARES’ staff are trained in the Carey Guides, a proven, evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy program used to provide alternative thinking processes and reactions to everyday living situations and issues in order to deter criminal behaviors.
Virginia CARES’ Case Managers and Employment Specialists work on building resource banks of landlords and employers willing to house and employ Virginia’s returning citizens. They collaborate with their local health care providers, probation and parole offices, law enforcement agencies, courts, educational facilities, places of worship and other local non-profits to provide a safety net of services to assist their program participants.
The short-term goal is to stabilize each returning individual and provide them the assistance they need to achieve their long-term goals of become successful, productive members of their communities.