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Braintree High Student Press

Braintree High Student Press

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Spotlight: Cassandra Janusz

Cassandra at one of her two Northeastern University Graduations

Cassandra Janusz is a licensed mental health counselor that works for the family service unit at the Braintree Police Department, as well as helping out at Braintree High School. She graduated from Northeastern University with her bachelors degree in criminal justice, alongside her masters in counseling psychology. With these impressive accomplishments, it took her a long time to get there.

“I had to do several years of direct clinical work with patients and receive supervision and then you can take a licensing exam through the board and submit all of your documentation and after two years minimum you can get your independent license” said Cassandra.

At first, majoring in criminal justice caught her attention, however she realized that she could branch out from there and work in a field that interested her a little bit more. In her line of work, there are many different ways one can go about things, and Cassandra found what was the right fit for her and the things she wanted to accomplish in life.

“I kind of took a diversion from that path and ended up going and doing an americorps program called teach for America and I taught for a few years as an elementary education teacher but when I decided to go back to grad school I knew I wanted to do something that was interfacing with law enforcement and I’ve just always had an interest in the criminal justice field in general but law enforcement is often very reactive in terms of you know, you go there once things are already kind of not going so well, whereas I wanted to be a bit more proactive so I knew that it would be a good fit for me and all of my interests to use my clinical degree in the law enforcement capacity” Cassandra shared.

Being in the law enforcement can be a very demanding job, where lives are always at risk. With her interest in criminal justice, she knew she wanted to be involved in this field, but work more proactively by trying to help resolve the situation and prevent it from happening rather than wait for it to happen and be blown out of proportion.

“If somebody calls the police and there’s a behavioral health component or if we’re working with a particularly vulnerable population like children, elderly, folks that are in mental health crisis, domestic violence situations, I will correspond to the call along with patrol officers and then in addition to that I also provide follow up for residents and people they interact with outside of the time that I’m around, so connecting people to services for mental health or resource or other sort of programming that they might need like housing needs or things like that” she described.

Before landing the job at the Braintree Police Department, Cassandra was working in the department of corrections at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Framingham where she worked as a clinician to female inmates.

“I’ve always had an interest in sort of the intersection between law enforcement, the criminal justice system and mental health and so a friend of mine from grad school actually reached out and said ‘You know, I think you’d love this job, ’ I saw Braintree was hiring and I applied and that’s how I ended up there a few years ago” Cassandra revealed.

She works with others who share the same interests as her, just slightly different titles. All in all, Cassandra gets to work side by side with colleagues that have the same passion for providing aid to the public and putting their degrees to good use.

“We have other clinicians on the team, one of them is a licensed independent clinical social worker, but we have similar job functions. So long story short a lot of school and then a lot of post masters work with direct supervision and then you have to get your license and then maintain your license through continuing ed units every couple of years” she informed.  

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