Valentina Laprade was recently named a 2011 National Collaborative Leadership Award recipient by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. Laprade has worked for local nonprofit Children’s Friend since 1998, currently serving as director of family preservation. She is also involved with the Institute for Addiction Recovery as a member of the Women’s Task Force and Steering Committee. Laprade holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s in social work from Rhode Island College.
PBN: Can you tell us more about the award you received?
LAPRADE: The award is given in recognition of contributions to improve collaboration among the substance abuse, child welfare, family court and law enforcement systems; leadership related to issues impacting families in the child-welfare system affected by substance-use disorders; and work to improve the delivery of services to families, groups and communities.
PBN: What are your responsibilities as Director of Family Preservation at Children’s Friend?
LAPRADE: I oversee the Project Connect program. I also work with the Family Care Community Partnership, which works with families in the community who are at risk of child-welfare involvement or need support for their child/youth with developmental or mental-health needs by providing community supports and linkages. The FCCP is part of the System of Care change within Rhode Island’s child-welfare system.
PBN: Can you tell us more about the Project Connect program?
LAPRADE: Project Connect is a program that helps to keep children safe and keep families together. Project Connect is the only program in the state that works with DCYF to keep children safe and strengthen families by helping parents achieve a substance-free lifestyle. The program is intensive, home-based and provides services for an average of one year. The services are provided by a team consisting of social workers, educators and nurses. Our Project Connect staff is specially trained in substance abuse and child-welfare risk assessment. … We have been fortunate to have traveled to other states to train teams on the implementation of the model. •