Faith-based organizations make a significant impact on Virginia communities and provide many types of assistance that improves societal welfare. Increasing the involvement of faith-based organizations enhances the Commonwealth's ability to carry out human welfare programs.
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Faith and Community Initiative (FCI) partners with Virginia's faith and community organizations (FCOs) to increase the health and wellness of Virginia's families, particularly those involved with the family welfare systems, and to increase substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery.
VDSS FCI consists of three main components - connecting to DSS resources, substance use supports, and communications.
Connection to DSS Resources
Navigation assistance for welfare programs: FCI connects faith-based and community organizations with essential DSS resources that can support them in their mission.
Grant researching and writing assistance: Faith-based organizations can access assistance and training in writing grants.
Find other faith and community organizations in your area: Go to 211virginia.org and find a list of faith-based organizations in your area (use "faith-based" and/or "community" as the key word when searching).
Substance Use Supports
Training: VDSS offers Recovery Ally trainings, a training developed by Rams in Recovery of Virginia Commonwealth University and the SpiritWorks Foundation, and a library of resources concerning substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. Email Nethan Reddy at Nethan.Reddy@dss.virginia.gov if your organization is interested in receiving the Recovery Ally training - virtually or in person.
Faith and Communities as Recovery Allies (FCRA): FCRA is dedicated to supporting faith organizations as they help individuals make steps to recovery. Its four pillars are education, community connections, faith community empowerment, and building sustainable systems of care. Some initiatives include offering Recovery Ally trainings to faith-based organizations and using the power of Peer Recovery Services within faith-based organizations. Email Nethan Reddy at Nethan.Reddy@dss.virginia.gov if you would like to learn more.
Communications and Partnerships
Monthly Newsletter: The FCI newsletter highlights examples of faith-based and community organizations working to improve the health and wellbeing for their members and the community, and shares other relevant capacity building, training, and funding opportunities. Email Nethan Reddy at Nethan.Reddy@dss.virginia.gov if you would like to be subscribed to our newsletter or if would like to be featured in it!
Webinars: FCI develops webinars to support faith-based and community organizations in their efforts to improve the health of their communities.
Faith-based liaisons: Faith-based representatives from all five VDSS regions meet to strategically support, coordinate, and uphold the FCI initiative.
For questions, comments, or concerns regarding the VDSS FCI, please email the AmeriCorps Substance Use Abatement VISTA, Nethan Reddy at email@example.com.