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Community Violence Intervention Center to take over two programs administered by Lutheran Social Services

CVIC has agreed to resume therapy services and restorative justice programs previously operated by LSSND. The programs will be funded through September by a federal grant that is being administered by the state.

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Coiya Tompkins, president and CEO of the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks, the group will take over programming once administered by Lutheran Social Services, which closed earlier this year. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

The Community Violence Intervention Center will take over two programs once administered by Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, which closed early this year.

CVIC has agreed to resume therapy services and restorative justice programs previously operated by LSSND. The programs will be funded through September by a federal grant that is being administered by the state.

“CVIC believes in a holistic approach to virtually ending violence,” said Coiya Tompkins, president and CEO of the CVIC, in a news release. “Continuing these services is the right thing to do for our LSS neighbors, as well as the victims, offenders and communities impacted by its loss. We appreciate an opportunity to continue these services and support friends and colleagues in several communities throughout the Red River Valley.”

Therapy services for victims of crime will continue for 23 clients in locations across North Dakota, and former LSS therapists will continue to support clients they served through a contractual agreement with CVIC.

“This continuity of service is so important to the healing for these victims, and will provide an opportunity for these therapists to complete services in an ethical and compassionate manner,” Tompkins said.

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CVIC also will fund training for up to two youth therapists and expand a partnership with The Village Family Service Center, to train therapists to administer Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. Doing so will fill a gap in healing services for children 7 years of age and younger. The evidence-based treatment is used to help strengthen parent-child relationships by strengthening familial trust and bonds. It also help parents develop confident, consistent strategies to address behaviors that result from trauma.

The restorative justice program will be new for CVIC. The program emphasizes repairing damage caused by harmful behavior through a cooperative process involving offenders, victims and community members. The organization has hired two former LSS staff members who worked in the restorative justice program. They will provide services to Grand Forks County and Fargo-area schools through the duration of the funding period, for victims of bullying, harassment, assault and other actions in school settings. The program will serve approximately 50 people in the two communities.

“Supporting this program is a good fit with our existing strengths and enables us to intensify our work to virtually end violence in two generations, and add greater value to our state and region moving forward,” said Tompkins.

According to Laura Nash Frisch, CVIC vice president of victim witness and visitation, the two nonprofit groups have collaborated in the past. The short-term restorative justice project will be an opportunity to further evaluate it, while considering funding options that may enable it to continue in the future.

“We are grateful that this transition was possible so that these important services could continue for communities in both Grand Forks and Fargo,” said Tompkins. “We’re excited about the growth possibilities this opportunity has presented for expanding our programming, as well.”

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