College of Education and Human Development

Connect Magazine

Helping families with justice system trauma

Katie Ausherbauer, Molly Bailey, and Elsa Kraus

Organization brings together multiple systems of care

In their clinical internship work at a Minneapolis substance abuse treatment center, two Department of Family Social Science PhD candidates became deeply troubled by how few mental health services were accessible to their clients over their lifespans.

At the same time, they were inspired by the capacity for transformation and healing in the lives of justice-involved individuals and families when people have access to high-quality mental health care.

So, students (pictured, left to right) Kadie Ausherbauer, Molly Bailey, and Elsa Kraus launched the local non-profit Minnesota Trauma Recovery Institute (MN-TRI) in 2019. It is focused on helping families involved in the criminal justice system heal from the legacy of trauma and addiction.

“We wanted to create an institute to bring together multiple systems of care and methods of serving families involved in the justice system,” Ausherbauer says. “We want to be on the leading edge of creating a people-first multidisciplinary community in the space of treating trauma, mental health, and relationship problems for those with justice system involvement through research, training, and mental health services.”

Located at 822 S. 3rd Street in Minneapolis, MN-TRI offers clinical services in mental and relational health as well as provides cross-disciplinary training and community-based research. Besides directors Ausherbauer, Bailey, and Kraus, MN-TRI board members also include family social science alums Lekie Dwanyen and Noah Gagner among others.

“Our work has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic—while following CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines—as the needs of the community have only increased during this time of change and adversity,” Ausherbauer says. “We want to thank the CEHD and family social science community for supporting our development and preparing us.”

Story by Kevin Moe | Photos by Kadie Ausherbauer and Charlein Gracia | Winter 2021