(Click here to read on CBS Detroit)
PLYMOUTH – (May 3, 2017) Starfish Family Services, a leading provider of services for at-risk children and families in metro Detroit, announced today that it is the first agency in Michigan to incorporate the nationally recognized Trauma Smart initiative into its early childhood programs.
Trauma Smart, based on cutting-edge science and tested therapies, enhances Starfish’s uniquely comprehensive integration of early childhood education and mental health services to address the impact of trauma – including violence, abuse, neglect and household dysfunction – on children’s health, learning and behavior.
The multi-year initiative to equip staff, parents and communities with the tools to help families address trauma in healthy ways was announced during the “Building Resilient Communities Forum 2017,” hosted by Starfish and held at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth. The keynote speaker was national childhood trauma expert, Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston.
Starfish has been a pioneer in successfully incorporating mental health supports in early childhood care and education settings to better support the well-being of children, families and communities. Childhood trauma is considered one of today’s most serious public health threats, potentially harming social-emotional development and physical health through adulthood.
“To best support our children and families, we are well on our way to building a trauma-informed culture here at Starfish, and Trauma Smart is a transformational step in that journey,” said Ann Kalass, Starfish CEO. “We also hope to further understanding and stimulate action across the state to help build resilient communities.”
Research shows that when children are repeatedly exposed to trauma their brains and physiology are negatively impacted. They may have trouble learning and controlling their emotions. Prolonged exposure to trauma causes toxic stress, which can lead to illnesses such as hepatitis and COPD, and self-destructive behaviors such as suicide and drug use.
Michigan is among states with the highest percentage of children who have had two or more adverse childhood experiences, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 2011/12 NSCH. In Michigan, 28.5 percent of children had two or more adverse experiences; the nationwide average is 22.6 percent. http://www.childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=2257&r=1&r2=24
Research shows that key adults in a child’s life can be trained to help children cope with trauma. Starfish will help train teachers, administrators, parents, grandparents and others to spot the signs of trauma and help children heal.
“With Trauma Smart, we are gaining new perspective,” Kalass said. “Rather than asking ourselves, ‘What’s wrong with this child?’ we must ask, ‘What happened to this child?’”
Trauma Smart is working in early childhood centers in many states including Missouri, Wisconsin and New York, but Starfish is the first Michigan agency to implement the researched model.
Children in Starfish early childhood classrooms automatically receive trauma screenings from staff professionals at enrollment. Already more than 125 Starfish staff at eight sites in Southeast Michigan have begun training in the model and are better able to support the nearly 600 children and their families at these centers.
“Starfish recognizes, builds on and validates individuals’ strengths while helping them recover from trauma and build resilience to carry them through life’s ups and downs,” Kalass said. “Starfish Family Services is proud to be at the forefront of this important work.”
You can download the full PDF here.
We’re looking for our next Chief Administrative Officer!
Starfish Family Services has retained Corporate Consulting Associates (CCA) to perform the executive search for our Chief Administrative Officer (currently named, Chief Operating Officer) position. Based on this independent search, please feel free to reach out directly to John Bukowicz, President and CEO of CCA, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to express interest for consideration.
We appreciate your interest in our mission at Starfish Family Services!
(click here for a bigger version of the flyer and schedule)
Join us on May 5, 2017 for the 2017 Starfish Family Services Conference at The Fairlane Club (5000 Fairlane Woods Drive, Dearborn MI 48126).
This conference benefits employees, parents, and educators, with sessions on early childhood education, parenting, workforce development, advocacy, behavioral health, leadership, self-care, and more! Attendees will be treated to a light breakfast during registration and a full lunch will be provided in between sessions.
There will also be giveaways, raffles, and a fun night with a DJ, photo booth, and a cash bar! If you wish to attend the networking event, you have to register separately.
Registration is required for attendance and space is limited. Click the link that best describes who you are below:
If you are an employee of Starfish Family Services, click here to register
This conference is generously supported by our funding partners:
- William and Audrey Farber Family Foundation
- PNC Bank
- The Stone Foundation of Michigan
- Bib to Backpack (an initiative from United Way of Southeastern Michigan)
- Bank of America