Topic: Uncategorized

Kempe Recruiting Providers to Expand the CARE Network

Every year in Colorado, thousands of children are impacted by maltreatment, and yet the expertise to conduct medical exams and behavioral health assessments to evaluate suspected cases of child abuse and neglect is still extremely limited. That’s why the Kempe Center is working to secure more health care and behavioral health providers across Colorado to join the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation (CARE) Network.

About the CARE Network

The CARE Network engages health care and behavioral health providers – pediatricians, family doctors, school nurses and more – with the best education and training on conducting medical exams and behavioral health assessments to identify signs and risks of child maltreatment or trauma. Providers also learn about the resources available to families to mitigate those risks and expand the safety net for children. More information on the CARE Network can be found here.

What Providers Receive

  • Education and training about signs that children may be at risk of maltreatment and information on resources available to families that will position providers to recognize community-specific needs and help prevent child maltreatment
  • Best practice standards for evaluating children suspected of abuse or neglect
  • Review of provider evaluations and feedback to grow each provider’s skill set and knowledge base

Recruitment Efforts

We are working closely with counties across Colorado to identify and recruit medical and behavioral health providers. We encourage city and county human services directors as well as other professionals in the field to share this training opportunity and help us expand the network with referrals. The more providers we have in the CARE Network, the more families we can reach, reducing incidents of child maltreatment.

Learn more about the opportunity to be a part of the solution at kempecarenetwork.org.

Kempe Professional Heather Taussig Receives Fulbright Award

Congratulations to Kempe professional Heather Taussig on receiving a 2020-21 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award to conduct research on innovative prevention programs for youth with adverse life experiences.

Heather is the creator and Program Director for Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF), a mentoring and skills training program for youth. In her research, she’ll have the opportunity to take a new look at extensive FHF data collected over the past two decades.

Heather plans to conduct research at Cardiff University’s Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) in Wales in 2021.

Congrats to Heather on this momentous achievement! Learn More.

Trauma-Responsive Schools: A New Frontier for Protecting Children

As the school year begins amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado students, parents and educators are facing new and persistent levels of uncertainty, stress, anxiety and loss. These feelings, especially over a prolonged period of time, can be especially traumatic for children.

Experts point to a large body of research demonstrating negative effects of trauma on students’ cognitive, academic, behavioral and social-emotional functioning in schools. Equipped with this research, child, youth and family serving systems across the state are exploring ways to re-design the educational experience to reflect an integrated school system that fosters healthy, safe, and responsive environments.

Trauma-Responsive Training for Educators

With Dr. Evelin Gomez leading the way, the Kempe Center’s trauma-informed practice team has been at the forefront of creating practices for schools that help mitigate the impact of trauma and promote healing for children. A trauma-responsive approach can also help educators have better interactions with their students and colleagues and even improve their own well-being.

“Training teachers on how to be mindful and fully present in the classroom – it seems simple but has a huge impact on kids and their ability to learn and stay engaged,” said Dr. Gomez.

In an effort to promote trauma-informed practices even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gomez and her team have provided training, coaching and consultation for educators in partnership with the Office of Behavioral Health in the Colorado Department of Human Services. As the pandemic continues, bringing additional stress and trauma to light, Dr. Gomez hopes to increase trainings across the state utilizing the Colorado Trauma-Responsive Schools Theory of Change Toolkit.

“Many schools already have some trauma-informed practices in place. Our goal is to take what schools are already doing and equip them with the additional tools they need to better serve children, parents and teachers, especially as they navigate through the current crisis,” said Dr. Gomez.

Trauma-Informed Support for Parents

In addition to trauma-informed trainings, professionals are also exploring new ways of addressing trauma in the wake of COVID-19, including small group discussions between parents looking for connection and resources. These discussions, facilitated by school administrators, allow parents the opportunity to solve problems together.

“If you don’t have people helping you and supporting you, how can you feel effective as a parent?” said Dr. Steven Berkowitz, professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, on the topic of small group interactions. “Connection with one another is the only way parents can handle the uncertainty we’re currently facing.”

Dr. Berkowitz explains that when supported by the right programs that address families’ needs holistically, children are more likely to avoid additional traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect.

“These small group interactions aren’t just helpful for parents – they allow schools to check in on the well-being of students and identify any instances of impeded family functioning or early signs of maltreatment,” said Dr. Berkowitz.

By focusing on the implementation of trauma-responsive and culturally reflective practices within schools, the professionals at the Kempe Center are leading a comprehensive approach to enhance the opportunities for all Colorado children to be resilient and equipped to reach their full potential.

We know the path to healthy childhoods requires aligning and integrating systems to serve all children and families, advancing policies that prioritize children and families, and building capacity to expand programs demonstrated to work. Each of these things requires a commitment to innovation and an ability to incubate new models, like the Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice (TRIP) program.

Help us make our vision a reality by donating the critical funds needed to expand this program and build capacity to help all children and families. Support Kempe today.

Our Impact in Fiscal Year 2020

Another fiscal year has come to an end for the Kempe Foundation and we want to thank our supporters for championing the work of Kempe Center professionals and the programs they run to strengthen families, communities and the systems that serve them. Your generosity underscores the impactful work we were able to achieve this year, including the following:

  • The Foundation provided a grant to the Center to implement the Best Start program, which provides education and training to caregivers about parent-child interaction, child safety and child health so they can better support their children.
  • We also granted impact funds to expand the reach of the Fostering Healthy Futures mentoring program.
  • We provided funding for the Kempe Center’s strategic planning process as they build a plan for the future under the leadership of Dr. Kathryn Wells.
  • The Kempe Center initiated implementation of the CARENetwork within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – legislation that prioritizes children and builds capacity in the state budget for the systems that serve children statewide.
  • The Foundation covered nearly $280,000 in rent and facility costs for Kempe Center programs by subsidizing office space and allowing these programs to put more dollars into their work.

Your donations make our work possible.

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has transformed our field and compelled us all to reshape the ways we serve children and families. It is more important than ever to support the healthcare, mental health, and child welfare professionals and workers in our communities, who are on the ground, day in and day out, keeping our children and families safe and supported.

Kempe Continues to Adapt Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

During the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis, Kempe is committed to supporting the frontline workers who continue to care for Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens – our children and youth. The Kempe Center recently launched its Kempe COVID-19 Virtual Village to allow these frontline workers to connect with experts, share best practices and generate solutions for protecting children and helping families during these challenging times.

The Kempe COVID-19 Virtual Village is an online, integrated learning environment and open space for all child welfare health professionals, legal experts, law enforcement and others who are working to prevent and treat child maltreatment.

The Virtual Village hosted its first two online learning sessions on April 8 & 9, featuring Dr. Steve Berkowitz, a child psychiatrist and expert in stress, trauma and resilience from the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Berkowitz’s session centered on understanding what it means to be a professional working in service of children and families during this pandemic.

Following his presentation, attendees participated in a conversation highlighting the challenges they’re currently facing due to today’s unprecedented challenges. Both sessions were well-received, with both reaching maximum registration capacity.

The Virtual Village will continue to evolve as we gather additional feedback from professionals in the field. The goal is to provide the following:

  • A series of online conversations
  • A virtual library of resources
  • An ability to connect with local and national professionals from child welfare, healthcare providers/workers, kinship/foster parents, mental health professionals, legal experts, law enforcement and others working to prevent and treat child maltreatment
  • Vetted tools, data and information

The Kempe Center’s Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) program, a positive youth development program that uses mentoring and skills training to empower youth to foster their own healthy futures, has also transitioned online to continue to support these vulnerable youth.

The FHF program is structured into two key components — skills group curriculum and one-on-one mentoring, both of which have had 100% participation since launching just two weeks ago. Both the skills group and mentor/mentees are using phone and video conferencing to conduct all sessions.

Jessica Corvinus, director of dissemination for the FHF program, says the change from in-person to online communication was a quick adaptation — one that has been embraced fully by those who run the program and its participants.

“Many of the children we serve are vulnerable for a host of different reasons, so I think there’s a lot of uncertainly with everything else going on, and it’s nice that we’re able to remain consistent. Our mentors always show up and this further demonstrates that we’re all still here and that we are able to provide that stability in this uncertain environment,” said Corvinus.

For more information on how Kempe is adapting during this time, stay tuned for our next Kempe In Action email on April 29, 2020.