Former Parole Officer Joins HCRS

Springfield, Vt. — Donna Burns has joined Health Care and Rehabilitation Services as a community support specialist for its police social work program. Burns, former a probation and parole officer for the Vermont Department of Corrections, will work with the Springfield Police Department.

The police social work program helps people referred by police departments and other community providers access social services.

“Often individuals come into contact with law enforcement as the result of an unmet social need,” HCRS said in a recent news release. “Police social work staff ... help make connections with community members and build a bridge between the community and mental health, substance abuse and other services. Once these individuals receive needed social services, they are less likely to come back in contact with law enforcement.”

Before joining HCRS, Burns worked for several years in the mental health field. Her experience includes teaching life skills to people with disabilities and helping them to find job training and employment. She also worked with adults with mental illness at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., and with young adults on probation, also in Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western New England University and a master’s degree from American International College.

— Staff report