STRIVIN' Social Services Referrals

“Assistance is available to you, and we want you to get the help that can improve your circumstances. Things don’t have to get worse before they get better.”  COMBAT Community Resources Available To You Brochure

All it takes is checking a few boxes and clicking SUBMIT.

Through the STRiVIN’ Social Services Referral system, police officers, school administrators, health care providers and others can complete a simple online form that can connect individuals and families to a whole host of community resources. The range of assistance is wide and varied—unemployment, income aid, utility support, providing food, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and more.

How It Works

Connecting To Community Resources

When a referral is submitted, it is directed automatically to a COMBAT agency that has been designated the STRiVIN’ “hub” in the neighborhood. This STRiVIN’ agency does all the follow-up work by phone or in person:

 Contacting the individual or family referred to conduct a needs assessment.

 From this assessment, passing along the referral to a network of various community social services organizations able to provide the type of assistance required.

 And tracking the referrals’ progression through the system.

Referral Data

COMBAT maintains a dashboard available to the public to monitor referral totals and referral types (based on services needed). The dashboard is updated each Tuesday and Friday. Individual referrals cannot be accessed through this public portal as we maintain the privacy of those being referred.

Day-To-Day Needs—Long-Term Wellbeing

Raytown_ReferralPILOT PROGRAM TAKES OFF — STRIVIN' Social Services Referrals was launched as a pilot program working primarily with the Raytown Police Department in July of 2021 (before COMBAT's new logo was unveiled).

Soon after COMBAT introduced STRiVIN’ Referrals as pilot program in his community in July 2021, Raytown Police Chief Bob Kuehl pointed out, “A lot of police departments are trying to utilize social workers more, but the 9-1-1 calls keep coming in. It’s not easy to have those in-depth conversations later with a social worker about what’s happening with this family over here or this family over there. With this system, we can make a referral on the spot.”

Through STRiVIN’ police officers no longer have to wait until there’s a pause in emergency calls to follow up with a social worker. If they are responding to a 9-1-1 call and see that there perhaps isn’t enough food in a home with four children, they can make a STRiVIN’ Referrals right then and there. (Because COMBAT recognizes that some people may initially be hesitant to have a referral made—or to talk to police—a brochure has been create to give these individuals, so that they can reach out directly to a STRiVIN’ hub for assistance.)

The STRiVIN’ Referrals program has since expanded to every STRiVIN’ neighborhood. COMBAT encourages police officers, school administrators, case workers, health care professionals, other COMBAT-supported agencies and others to use the online referrals. The COMBAT-funded Project RISE focuses on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) risk of gunshot wound survivors treated at University Health/Truman Medical Center, but to permit these survivors to better focus on their long-term emotional wellbeing they are often placed in the STRiVIN’ Referral system to first address basic day-to-day needs (e.g. rental assistance, transportation to medical appointments, etc.).

Helping Individuals—Helping The Whole Neighborhood

Sisters In Christ Executive Director Carolyn Whitney

Each STRiVIN’ Referral represents a real person with real problems. The ultimate objective is to assist them and their families—to decrease the risk of a violent escalation in their own lives—and through improving their circumstances help improve the quality of life in the whole neighborhood.

Sisters In Christ, a non-profit like all COMBAT-funded agencies, serves as the Raytown STRiVIN’ hub. When the Referral program was started, Sisters In Christ Executive Director Carolyn Whitney immediately recognized the potential for violence reduction: “The police alone aren’t the answer. It really takes the whole community. One of the best ways to reduce crime in the community is to reduce the despair in people’s lives.”

December 3, 2021
Dedicated To Improving People's Realities
Carolyn_Quote_365Carolyn Whitney, executive director of the agency that serves as COMBAT’s primary partner in Raytown, believes new social services referral program will reduce crime in the community through helping people improve their lives. Changing the circumstances inside a home the police have been called to, she says, can result in the police not having to “come back knocking on that door again.”

December 3, 2021
An Innovative Progam Unlike Any Other In The Nation?
Raytown_Officer_Lisa_BarnettInnovative COMBAT program allows police and others to make a simple referral that can connect individuals and families to life-changing services. “As police officers, we always want to help people,” says Raytown Police Officer Lisa Barnett, “but we can’t always fix the issues in their lives. We’re responding to the immediate crisis they’re having. We’re going from call to call. With this referral application, we can do something more to help them.”

“We needed a bridge between the officers on the scene and the resources in the community available to help people out. There was a gap. This system provides that bridge and closes the gap. I think people have great ideas like this, but that’s where it ends—as an idea. What COMBAT has done here is put the effort in, the horsepower in place, to move the idea forward and put it into action.”  Raytown Police Chief Robert Kuehl (2021)