Faith Community Partnership
In 2001, CSOSA and the city's clergy forged the CSOSA/Faith Community Partnership to raise awareness of the needs of offenders returning to the community after incarceration and to develop mechanisms through which faith institutions could help to meet them. In 2002, CSOSA issued a "Call to Action" to the city's faith community with the goal of establishing a viable mentoring program for offenders. The city's religious leaders responded enthusiastically and since that time over 160 faith institutions have been formally certified as mentor centers for offenders. More than 600 volunteer mentors have been recruited and trained and over 1,300 offenders have been referred for mentor matches.
While mentoring was the primary focus of the CSOSA/Faith Community Partnership during its early stages, the collaboration has expanded to provide a city-wide network of faith-based services including:
- Job training
- Substance abuse aftercare and support
- Transitional housing
- Family counseling
CSOSA has divided the city into three service areas, or clusters, and funded a Lead Faith Institution in each cluster. CSOSA continually works with these institutions to map resources, identify service gaps, and build additional faith-based capacity throughout the District of Columbia.