This year, we welcomed new community partners, celebrated the growth of annual events, and accepted new funding to expand upon our national hotline. Indeed, it was a year with many high points. But our work is not done. As we look into year 60 and beyond, we know that five children die every day at the hands of abuse and neglect. We know that children who experience trauma as a child are more likely to end up in prison or addicted to a substance. We – you – have the opportunity to change this course.
With continual thanksgiving in our hearts, we thank each and every soul that has touched our organization in any form. As we recap our year, we hope that you will resonate with all that Childhelp aims to accomplish and are moved to be part of our future, for the next 60 years and beyond.
Prevention // Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Educators
Childhelp’s Speak Up Be Safe has spent the past year inching toward the finish line to become a fully evidence-based program. Currently, the program is research-based and evidence informed. Throughout the process, researchers at Arizona State University are working with schools within the state to study grades Pre-K through 12th. Based on the ongoing outcomes of research studies, the curriculum was then updated and redesigned to improve lesson plans and supporting materials. In doing so, we continually rise to meet the unique needs of today’s children and youth.
A $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children was awarded to our Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline with an objective to set the new standard within hotline service. The funds from this inaugural grant will allow the nationally recognized hotline to expand its reach through the expansion of national text and chat services as well as increased community outreach. In partnership with Arizona State University, Childhelp will conduct research, collecting evidence that will then help improve the future of our hotline and serve as a guide for other hotline servicers across the globe.
For the Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee, this is the second year with Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy, which has continually proven to be an effective therapy treatment for children with complex trauma cases. The Center also expanded S.M.A.R.T. (Sensory Motor and Regulation Training) equipment being used in the playroom, which has yielded great results for regulating children before sitting down for therapy sessions.
In Arizona, as of October 1, the Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona was the only agency in the state of Arizona to receive a grant from the Department of Justice to provide targeted services to children who have been victimized as a result of caregiver substance/opioid abuse. This program includes targeted therapy services, community training, and resource building.
In an effort to provide additional therapeutic services to empower the children the Arizona program sees, we’ve also expanded our Clinical Services to include Sensory Modulation and in-home Family Support. Sensory Modulation Occupational Therapy provides focused, active methods to help the child move out of their fight, flight, or freeze system and into their frontal lobe which allows them to process what they’ve experienced. This process is different for each child so it’s important for them to have access to various modalities. The in-home Family Support Program works in conjunction with the services the child receives at the Center to also address the home environment. The goal of this program is to provide realistic, individualized family therapy to help the home environment. This provides life-saving intervention and treatment services and resources for everyone involved.
Treatment // Childhelp Alice C. Tyler Village
Childhelp’s Alice C. Tyler Village began a campaign in late 2017 to enable neighboring states to benefit from the services offered at the Village. The Village has proven to be a leader in offering adjunctive therapies not readily offered in many other states or programs. Our niche in serving the younger population and providing a beautiful serene environment conducive to proper healing has proven both successful and worthy of travel. As a result, in spite of its location in Virginia, the program was categorized as a participating provider in North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Medicaid.
Within that care, Village Leader and Co-Leader programs were implemented to empower children. The participants are elected as a Leader/Co-Leader by cottage staff and peers, taking pride in the position, duties, and privileges that come along with it. These leaders know they are representing their cottage with their behaviors and are thrilled to step up to help others.
In an effort to continue spreading the word regarding Childhelp’s initiatives and programs focused on trauma-informed care, the Village organized and executed its second trauma conference on site. With more than 60 participants, the clinical team educated community partners — including social workers, therapists, physicians, and mental health workers — on the adjunctive therapies offered at the Village to treat children who have suffered from extensive trauma.
Overall, these moments serve as mere highlights of our year here at Childhelp. Growth, innovation, and creative problem-solving allowed for our various programs to remain in line with current needs of the children in our care. We may be nearing a 60-year birthday, but we are far from outdated. This year has given us many opportunities to improve upon our tactics to fight the epidemic of child abuse. We’ve made progress, but are nowhere near finished yet.