Roots Wellness Center (formerly known as Minnesota CarePartner) is a holistic, somatically focused, polyvagal-informed, culturally-responsive mental health organization that heals intergenerational trauma by embracing epigenetics and holistic approaches to wellness and cultural recovery.
Roots Wellness Center’s journey began in 2013 when it commenced offering culturally responsive, in-home therapy with a strong advocacy focus on systemic change. The center was founded by Katy Armendariz, LICSW, a transracial adoptee whose personal experiences gave birth to the vision of this organization. Katy was determined to provide high-quality mental health services using a systemic framework, particularly within marginzlied communities. Her mission included addressing the lack of social justice-oriented, decolonized, trauma-informed mental health and addiction services, and ensuring cultural representation among the providers.
Starting with just two part-time therapists, RWC brought psychotherapy into people’s homes, especially for those who lacked access to a traditional clinic due to mental, physical, financial, or transportation barriers. RWC is dedicated to breaking down these barriers, recognizing the inherent distrust often associated with outpatient clinics and traditional systems. The aim was to provide an alternative way to engage in therapeutic care, one that focuses on holistic health and decolonized wellness concepts.
By August 2015, RWC expanded its offerings to include Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS) and ARMHS services. In 2017, acknowledging that parental substance use is the primary reason for out-of-home placements, Roots introduced an outpatient treatment program with a harm-reduction, culturally-specific, and trauma-informed approach. This was essential, as Katy wanted the Roots treatment to be distinct from the shame-based, punitive methods prevalent in most treatment settings due to her personal experiences within the addiction industrial complex.
During the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, RWC launched its digital navigation program to bridge the digital divide. In-home digital navigators were tasked with teaching essential digital skills, addressing digital inequities in communities.
In October 2022, RWC entered into a strategic partnership with Hennepin County Child Welfare and Yale to initiate the first in-home treatment program for parents of infants struggling with substance use. Two teams of therapists and family support specialists are now providing intensive, attachment-focused, trauma-informed therapy in the home. This pilot program is dedicated to addressing disparities in the system, particularly concerning Black and Brown families.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, RWC has fully embraced its identity as a holistic, systemically-focused, trauma-centered mental health agency. It seeks to heal intergenerational trauma by exposing the trauma-inducing systems of oppression while incorporating knowledge of epigenetics and ancestral approaches to wellness.
RWC remains committed to constant evolution and adaptation, innovating new programs to meet changing community needs. It actively engages with the community and partners with like-minded organizations to enhance its ability to serve everyone better.