Established by the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) in 2020 through a state appropriation of $1.5 million, the Resiliency Center for Families and Children addresses the many needs of those experiencing trauma, toxic stress, chronic disability, neurodevelopmental disorders or substance use disorder.
Serving children who have been abused or neglected.
The Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center was established to provide assessments for children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences. The CTAC team also provides professional training and coordinates projects in order to create trauma-informed systems and services.
CTAC was founded in November of 1999 following a $20,000 grant from the Kalamazoo Foundation. Co-founders Ben Atchison, Mark Sloane, Yvette Hyter, Connie Black-Pond and Jim Henry came together with a common vision to operationalize the research on the neurodevelopmental impacts of trauma into a transdisciplinary, comprehensive neurodevelopmental trauma assessment for children in the child welfare system. The professional team included faculty and clinicians in behavioral medicine (Mark Sloane DO), occupational therapy (Ben Atchison, Ph.D.), speech and language pathology, (Yvette Hyter Ph.D.) and Social Work (Connie Black-Pond, MA, LMSW and Jim Henry Ph.D., MSW). Their combined expertise was integrated into an assessment protocol to identify and determine the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure and complex trauma on children’s functioning. Additionally, the co-founders, along with amazing CTAC staff, received seven federal grants totaling over 10 million dollars to train a wide population of professionals and community members in trauma screening, assessment, treatment, and resiliency in local, state and national venues. In 2017, after 17 years of the team working together, Connie Black-Pond retired as clinical director and Ben Atchison retired as Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. Both have had an indelible impact on the children and families served, student interns from the various disciplines, the entire CTAC team and communities all across Michigan and the country.
We at CTAC stand in solidarity with the Black and African American communities and communities of color across this country, in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and so many more. We are here, we are listening, we are learning and unlearning, and we want to do our part to help dismantle systemic and institutional racism. We realize that the current state of our nation only displays but a fraction of hundreds of years of oppression for our Black and African American communities and communities of color. Our team is committed to taking reflective and actionable steps toward racial equity and anti-racism within our organization and throughout our state and country, and recognize in our efforts that we will have continuous unlearning and relearning to do.
As trauma experts we would be remiss to address individual and familial trauma without understanding the larger context and systems within which those individuals and families live – systems which, by design, have led to widespread disparities and harm for people of color. As a team we are working to expand the consciousness of our practice and advocacy, and examine at an internal level the next steps we need to make. We are here, and we are listening. Black Lives Matter.
The new $1.5 million state appropriation will allow WMU's Unified Clinics to add new services, like trauma assessments and treatment for parents and for those with substance use disorders, as well as resiliency-based interventions for families and sensory processing therapy for children.
Incorporating Therapy Dogs into CTAC Assessments: A Pilot Study
Sociology professor, Dr. Angie Moe, has begun to bring her therapy dogs (Sunny and Oreo) to the Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center. This pilot study incorporates registered therapy dog(s) into the assessments conducted on children at CTAC over a six-month period.