The Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center (CTAC) will implement the Trauma Informed Child Welfare Project, a trauma informed child welfare practice model into existing Michigan county systems and two Native American tribal courts. This project is the first to design a collaborative implementation of the trauma informed Child Welfare Curriculum and Essential Elements of Trauma Informed child welfare practice. Professional disciplines identified to participate include child welfare workers, judges/referees, mental health and caregivers (biological and resource parents). The project aims to transform child welfare service delivery in Michigan by infusing trauma informed child welfare practices that are culturally competent, evidence supported/based, and responsive to the needs of traumatized children. Applications will further include consideration of the unique needs of children entering the child welfare system whose parent(s) have served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).The project will target change at three levels—system change, service delivery, and child well being through a series of collaborative trainings and service implementation. Change in the perspectives and skills of professionals and caregivers at every level of the child welfare system will be fostered and sustained through training and consultation to county demonstration sites representing urban to rural communities across Michigan. Key stakeholders in demonstration sites will build joint leadership, and teams are expected to integrate new material into their practice and treatment of traumatized children, impacting decision making and policy.
Content will include the Child Welfare Curriculum, a trauma informed transdisciplinary CTAC assessment protocol; and evidence supported/based treatments, including Real Life Heroes (Kagan) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Cohen, Mannarino) to practitioners through Learning Collaboratives. CTAC will also train foster parents and resource parents from across Michigan in the NCTSN Resource Parent Curriculum, and foster their ability to replicate training through their participation as co-facilitators. Through infusion of a culturally competent, trauma informed practice at all levels of child welfare, positive outcomes for children (safety, permanence, well-being) will be improved, including improved cultural and racial equity of children in placement. Sustainability of system change will be addressed through evaluation of readiness and cultural diversity needs for participating teams prior to training, and Learning Collaborative strategies. The Trauma Informed Child Welfare model, once integrated, will become infused into daily interactions, communications, decisions, and practices and will not require further funding for maintenance. The Trauma Informed Child Welfare Project will offer the first opportunity for evaluation data to determine the efficacy of the Child Welfare model of practice and subsequently will have national implications.
Southwest Michigan Children's Trauma Assessment Center, in partnership with New Genesis, the Kalamazoo Hispanic Council and several other community agencies, has been awarded a $1 million, four-year grant through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Safe Start Promising Approaches Initiative.
The grant will fund Project Partnering to Effectively Reduce the Impact of Violence to Children in Kalamazoo--Project PERK for short. Partners in the project will first identify children exposed to violence in Kalamazoo County. They will then use a tiered-intervention approach to reduce the impact of that violence on the children's neurodevelopmental, relational and emotional progress.
Partners or other caregivers and community agencies will be involved and trained in trauma-informed practices to provide services to children and their families. In addition, key leaders from the primary agencies that serve Kalamazoo children will participate in community board meetings to plan, develop, and implement strategies and new policies to better serve children exposed to violence.