Center for Child Counseling Receives $25,000 Grant from Mirasol Foundation

NEWS RELEASE

May 11, 2022
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

Center for Child Counseling Receives $25,000 Grant from Mirasol Foundation
Funding to support Childhood Trauma Response Program.

The Mirasol Foundation recently presented Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) with a $25,000 grant at the foundation’s awards happy hour ceremony on April 27, 2022, at Mirasol Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

Funding from the Mirasol foundation supports CFCC’s Childhood Trauma Response (CTR) Program. The CTR Program was established in 2015 and focuses on the timely identification of mental health concerns, providing trauma treatment for children and adolescents who have been removed from their parents’ care.

Roughly 600 children under the age of five enter foster care every year in Palm Beach County. The CTR Program serves all children and adolescents coming into foster and relative caregiving in Palm Beach County. The Center’s trauma therapists provide immediate crisis intervention, support, and care, including helping children testify in court. The therapists also work with all adult caregivers in the child’s life, including foster parents, guardian ad litems, and attorneys to advocate for each child’s rights–making recommendations for care with a focus on safety and stability.

According to Renée Layman, chief executive officer of CFCC, “We are most grateful to The Mirasol Foundation for helping fund our Childhood Trauma Response Program. As the only agency providing this level of care in our community, it is imperative we have the proper funding to help these children who have suffered devastating abuse, loss, neglect, and violence which require evidence-based trauma treatment and wraparound support.”

About Center for Child Counseling:
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. www.centerforchildcounseling.org
Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

Photo IDs:
001: Renée Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling; Julie Finn, Mirasol Foundation gifts and grants committee member; Audrey Schofield, director of advancement for Center for Child Counseling

Click here to view news release.

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Announcing Dr. Eugenia Millender and Eddie Stephens as Chair and Vice Chair of Center for Child Counseling’s Board of Directors

NEWS RELEASE

May 6, 2022
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

Announcing Dr. Eugenia Millender and Eddie Stephens as Chair and Vice Chair of Center for Child Counseling’s Board of Directors

The Center for Child Counseling Board of Directors recently voted in Eugenia Millender, Ph.D., RN as chair and Eddie Stephens, Esq. as vice chair to continue moving the mission of the non-profit agency forward.

Renée Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling, stated, “I am incredibly grateful to have Eugenia and Eddie at the helm of the board to help our agency continue to heal the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and keep us pushing, innovating, and taking the right risks to bring prevention to the forefront of the fight against ACEs.”  

Prior to her induction as Chair of the Board of Directors, Dr. Millender served as the vice-chair since 2013. She brings a wealth of expertise and passion to the Center for Child Counseling Board of Directors, including clinical experience as a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. As a nurse scientist, Dr. Millender researches stress, trauma, and mental health disparities among underserved populations using principals of community-engaged and community-led research. She is co-founder and co-director for the Florida State University Center for Population Sciences for Health Equity and an associate professor at the FSU College of Nursing. 

According to Dr. Millender, “There is no whole health or well-being without mental health.  Serving on the CFCC board connects my passion and mission to increase mental health equity for all with trauma-informed care that is playful,​ healthful, and hopeful.”

Stephens has served as a board member since 2016. As a survivor of multiple ACEs, he identifies with CFCC’s mission and brings a passion to inspiring children and families to overcome adversity. Stephens is a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney at Stephens & Stevens, PLLC, an author, lecturer, and community leader. One of his significant contributions to CFCC has been his role as director of legal education where he created a monthly Continuing Legal Education (CLE) series in which all of the money supports the non-profit organization. The series started in 2020 and is on its 21st monthly episode. 

I survived a traumatic childhood; so, I believe in putting resources in fixing these problems much younger. We will have a healthier community and society. It’s important to create a trauma-informed community in order to accomplish that goal,” commented Stephens on why he serves on the board.

The other members of Center for Child Counseling’s Board of Directors include: Jeffrey Petrone, treasurer and secretary; Bill Lynch, past chair; Madeline Morris, director and audit committee chairwoman; Jennifer Hume Rodriguez, director; Patsy Mintmire, director; Jennifer Ferriol, director; Bailey Hughes, director; Renée Layman, president and chief executive officer; Shannon Fox-Levine, medical consultant.  

About Center for Child Counseling:
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. www.centerforchildcounseling.org
Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

Photo IDs:

001: Eugenia Millender, Ph.D., RN
002: Eddie Stephens, Esq.

Click here to view news release.

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Lead the Fight attracts community leaders from 23 states and 11 countries

NEWS RELEASE

February 25, 2022
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

Lead the Fight, ACEs event, attracts community leaders from 23 states and 11 countries:
Author Juleus Ghunta and UNICEF’s Benjamin Perks advocate for giving children with trauma a voice

Lead the Fight, Giving Children with Trauma a Voice, took place Tuesday, February 22, 2022–hosted by Palm Beach County non-profit Center for Child Counseling (CFCC). The event featured a virtual book reading of Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story about ACEs and Hope and conversation with author Juleus Ghunta, as well as the keynote address given by Benjamin Perks, head of Campaigns and Advocacy at UNICEF. Ashley Glass, co-anchor of CBS12 News This Morning, emceed the international event which brought together community sector leaders from 23 states and 11 countries around the globe to learn, strategize, and take action to end child abuse and neglect.   

The event opened with Glass laying the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatrics defining adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma as “the Public Health issue of our time”–further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite ACEs being the root cause of many crises our communities face–gun violence, domestic abuse, overflowing jails, homelessness, child abuse, addiction, chronic disease, and mental illness–the event gave the more than 270 registrants hope.

“We are here tonight to talk about solutions–ways we can Lead the Fight…Adversity doesn’t mean a death sentence. With the help of a caring community, resilience grows and builds through each adverse outcome…Know your role in creating trauma-informed communities: be a buffering influence in the life of a child who needs you,” stated Glass. 

Renée Layman, chief executive officer of CFCC, followed with her rally cry, “We don’t have to wait for a child to fall apart before we do something….As mental health professionals, we can’t do it all…We need to figure out collectively how to build the capacity of our community to affect mental health.”

In Perks’ keynote address, he explained the importance of connection, not as a luxury but part of our evolutionary biology, and how human beings are dependent on adults for longer in the life cycle than any other species: “We depend on [adults] for three things–for love, for nurture, and for protection. We have a biological need to be loved…it’s there from day one.”

He continued to explain the need and importance of buffering adults in children’s lives: “Every child needs a champion who will be there for them no matter what, to form a deep connection and hold them up to the highest standards and help them to achieve those standards. We live in a world powered by the love of teachers, caregivers, and parents, but we also all too often take that for granted and fail to invest in it. Connections with them are the vaccines against and the medicine for adverse childhood experiences and having the power to break intergenerational trauma.”

Perks championed the idea that communities need to do more to protect vulnerable children than to exploit them. 

Following Perks address, Ghunta answered questions related to his personal and difficult journey with adverse childhood experiences and the inspiration for his new book, Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story about ACEs and Hope. Ghunta described the book as coming from a “very deep, deep place inside of me…this is a book about my life, my story, my experiences as a survivor of about 18 adverse childhood experiences.”

Ghunta then delivered an animated and heartfelt reading of Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows which highlights the need to find transformative ways of engaging with perpetrators of ACEs and the role families and communities can play in helping survivors develop resilience and hope. 

As part of Center for Child Counseling’s mission to build playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families, the agency is educating adult caregivers to build their capacity to implement effective strategies to promote resilience and help children. CFCC developed ‘Lead the Fight’ in 2016 to bring awareness to system leaders around fighting childhood adversity with advocacy and action. In 2021, the event was transformed into a virtual action series in response to the pandemic and the urgent need to move forward policies and practices that support children’s mental health and resilience. 

“For the 2022 launch, we are incredibly grateful to Ben Perks and Juleus Ghunta for leading the fight against ACEs and sharing their poignant reflections and experiences related to childhood trauma and adversity with our global community. And we thank Ashley Glass for lending her voice and joining the fight to help tackle the effects of ACEs. It’s imperative that we continue to share the message that children thrive when they have regular interactions with responsive, caring adults. Therefore, we have to continue to make the adults in our neighborhoods, schools, healthcare, and community center ACEs- and trauma-aware, so they can buffer the adversity children experience at home, preventing further harm,” reflected Layman. 

By using a virtual platform to host the event, Ghunta joined from Japan, Perks from New York, and Glass from Florida. Attendees also participated from Aruba, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

For more information on joining the fight and helping tackle the effects of adverse childhood experiences, visit centerforchildcounseling.org

ABOUT JULEUS GHUNTA:

Juleus Ghunta is a Chevening Scholar, children’s writer, a member of Jamaica’s National Task Force on Character Education, and an advocate in the Caribbean’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) movement.

Ghunta holds a BA in Media from The University of the West Indies, Mona, and an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford. His work explores the links between toxic stress and academic underachievement. His poems and essays on ACEs have appeared in 30+ journals across 16 countries. His picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull, was published by CaribbeanReads in 2018, and he is the co-editor of the December 2019 and March 2020 issues of Interviewing the Caribbean (The UWI Press), focused on children’s literature and ACEs in the Caribbean. Juleus’ new book, Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story About ACEs and Hope, was published by CaribbeanReads on December 31, 2021. His Notebook of Words and Ideas, which features prominently in Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows, will be published by CaribbeanReads in 2022. 

ABOUT BENJAMIN PERKS:

Benjamin Perks is the Head of Campaigns and Advocacy in the Division of Global Communications and Advocacy  at the United Nations Children’s Fund, based in New York. He leads on public and policy advocacy on issues related to the survival, development and protection of children. He is a member of the Policy Advisory Group on the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and serves on a number of other bodies.

In personal capacity, he is Senior Fellow at the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in the UK, which researches education policy on character, social, and emotional development of children. He holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury and has recently completed a mid-career program with the Harvard Graduate School of Education on Leadership and Education Reform.  He is recognized as a public speaker, blogger, and influencer on violence against children and adverse childhood experiences. His TedX talk on Adverse Childhood Experiences can be found here. Perks can be followed on twitter and his blogsite.

ABOUT ASHLEY GLASS:

Ashley Glass, a highly-regarded journalist with almost two decades of experience as an anchor and reporter, is the weekday co-anchor of CBS12 News This Morning 4:30-7 am, and CBS12 News at 9 am and noon. She has previously worked in Tampa, Springfield, IL and Gainesville. Ashley has covered many significant news events, is a champion for small businesses, and produces and presents regular special reports on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on children’s mental health and other timely issues. She graduated from the University of Florida with honors and dual degrees in Telecommunication-News and Political Science. Ashley has two daughters and loves living in Palm Beach County. 

PARTNERS LEADING THE FIGHT:

Partnership sponsors who are leading the fight and made this important and necessary panel conversation possible include: First Republic Bank, WPEC CBS 12, Children’s Services Council Palm Beach County, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart ShipleyWard Damon Attorneys at Law, and Premier Pediatrics.

CFCC’s Fighting ACEs initiative to build trauma-informed communities is made possible with the generous support of Quantum Foundation, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and private donors.

RECORDING OF THE EVENT:

Click here to view the full recording of the “Lead the Fight 2022” event.

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Art therapy for LGBTQ+ teens launching January 2022

NEWS RELEASE

December 9, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

Art therapy for LGBTQ+ teens launching January 2022

Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) is teaming up with Lighthouse ArtCenter to offer weekly group art therapy activities for tweens and teens to support their mental health, peer relationships, and overall well-being. The purpose of this program is to increase feelings of community and connectedness, build resilience and coping skills, and decrease feelings associated with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and/or stress. The program will begin with a free, eight-week series for LGBTQ+ middle school youth beginning January 4, 2022.

Chief Executive Officer of CFCC, Renée Layman, chose to begin with LGBTQ+ teens “because there is a need for every teenager, regardless of sexual orientation and identification, to feel support and accepted by both their peers and adults, and there’s a critical gap in these services in the northern county.” 

The group will focus on exploring and promoting LGBTQ+ well-being while engaging in art using mixed media. Each weekly session provides therapeutic art activities, ranging from painting to pottery, facilitated by both a Center for Child Counseling mental health therapist and a Lighthouse ArtCenter art instructor. At the end of each group cohort, participants will receive their own Art and Mindfulness Kit to promote continued use of the skills and techniques learned during the group sessions. 

Play Therapy has been the foundation of CFCC’s work for the last 22 years, underlying all the interventions used to help children and teens work through trauma, loss, grief, and other circumstances that impact mental health and well-being. Art is a type of play that requires imagination, creativity, and opportunities for exploration and expression beyond one’s physical surroundings. Center for Child Counseling and Lighthouse ArtCenter look forward to adding more group art therapy to the 2022 calendar in the near future. 

“We are seeing significant increases in anxiety and depression in teens; so, as an organization, we are looking at ways to provide early intervention and support in addition to the treatment services we already provide. We know that Art Therapy works and are thrilled about this partnership with Lighthouse ArtCenter as a way to reach and help more adolescents in our community,” stated Layman.

Jeni Licata, executive director of Lighthouse ArtCenter added, “Our community needs more programs that support the mental health and well-being of young people. We are grateful and excited to collaborate with Center for Child Counseling to provide such a valuable program.” 

The LGBTQ+ art therapy sessions will be on Tuesdays from 6-8 PM, January 4 – February 22, 2022, at the Lighthouse ArtCenter at 373 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required and participants are asked to commit to attending each of the eight sessions.

For more information or to register for the LGBTQ+ art therapy program, visit: www.centerforchildcounseling.org/artclub

This partnership is supported with support from the Max & Marjorie Fisher Foundation.

About Center for Child Counseling
Since 1999, Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

About Lighthouse ArtCenter
Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery & School of Art is 501c(3) not-for-profit founded in 1964 by eight artists and Christopher Norton. The ArtCenter is dedicated to the visual arts whose mission is to inspire, engage and connect our community through a vibrant school of art, unique exhibitions, and diverse special events. The center has grown into a three-building campus consisting of a Gallery & 2D Studio, 3D Studio, and a Jewelry & Textile Studio. Supported by memberships, tuition, grants, and donations, Lighthouse ArtCenter serves over 20,000 visitors, 3,000 students, 45 faculty members, 400 summer art campers, and a comprehensive outreach program to benefit under-served populations. For more information visit https://www.lighthousearts.org.
Facebook: @lighthousearts.org Instagram: @lighthousearts Twitter: @LighthouseArtC 

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Integrating Mental Health into Primary Pediatric Care

NEWS RELEASE

October 11, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

 Integrating Mental Health into Primary Pediatric Care
Partnership between Center for Child Counseling and Palm Beach Pediatrics addresses the whole child to serve as best practice model of care

Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) in collaboration with Palm Beach Pediatrics (PBP) announce their partnership of integrating mental health care into primary pediatric care which began Monday, October 4, 2021. 

An estimated one in five children will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. Of those children diagnosed with mental health disorders, 75 percent of children are currently seen in primary care settings, demonstrating the growing role primary care settings have in addressing mental health issues. At the same time, it is estimated that 75-80 percent of children in need of mental health services do not receive them.

Research has shown that unaddressed mental health problems among children can lead to lower educational achievement, greater involvement with the criminal justice system, and poor health and social outcomes overall. 

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study reported a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health–related emergency department visits for youth ages 12–17 years during 2020 as compared to 2019. The uncertainty, anxiety, isolation, and economic insecurity from the COVID-19 pandemic are traumatic experiences that, if not addressed, can cause long-term health consequences. Youth anxiety, depression, and suicide rates were at an all-time high before the pandemic. Social isolation, fear, and stress have amplified these issues and are impacting children’s and teen’s mental health.

The pandemic is adding a huge increase in the need for pediatric mental health services. There are critical shortages in health professionals to meet the current and increasing demand for services. 

“Directly supporting trauma-informed and responsive approaches across systems that serve children and families, particularly pediatric primary care, can and will mitigate the negative impacts of overwhelming stress and help them thrive now and beyond the pandemic,” stated Renée Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling.

For children and adolescents, many of the consequences of the pandemic will not be immediately visible, but they could be lifelong without immediate action to support their mental health and well-being. 

According to the AAP: “Pediatric clinicians are on the front lines of caring for children and adolescents and, thus, have the greatest potential for early identification of and response to childhood trauma. Data indicate that, although pediatric providers intuitively understand the negative effects of trauma, they report a lack of knowledge, time, and resources as major barriers to providing trauma-informed care. Yet, experts believe that the complete assessment of child and adolescent behavioral, developmental, emotional, and physical health requires consideration of trauma as part of the differential diagnosis to improve diagnostic accuracy and appropriateness of care.

Through this partnership, Center for Child Counseling, a local nonprofit, is embedding its services within Palm Beach Pediatrics to deliver an array of prevention, early intervention, and mental health services within the primary care setting. 

Over the past twenty-two years, Center for Child Counseling has used an integration model for services, locating CFCC staff within childcare centers, schools, and organizations serving children. This approach will now be used to fully integrate into the primary pediatric care setting for the first time. A CFCC care coordinator and therapist will be embedded at PBP, working seamlessly as a part of the PBP team to provide mental health services, consultation, crisis intervention, referral and triage, education, and resources for patients, families, and staff. 

Research shows that this holistic approach supports overall wellness, including short and long-term health outcomes.

According to Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine of Palm Beach Pediatrics, “This collaboration will promote a best practice model of care that addresses the whole child, supporting social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development to ensure that children, adolescents, and families receive immediate access to mental health services, education, and resources.”

This pediatric integration model and CFCC services to those who are not insured or under-insured are made possible thanks to grant funding through local funders such as Palm Beach Community Services, Quantum Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County’s Youth Services Department, and Health Care District of Palm Beach County. 

About Center for Child Counseling
Since 1999, Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. 

For more information, visit centerforchildcounseling.org. Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

About Palm Beach Pediatrics
Palm Beach Pediatrics is one of the largest providers of primary pediatric care in Palm Beach County. With three locations spread throughout Palm Beach County (Royal Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and Boynton Beach), they served 16,000 patients in 2020 and currently have 19,300 active patients. Palm Beach Pediatrics is committed to meeting the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the children and young adults of Palm Beach County by providing the highest quality of care with compassion and honesty. 

For more information, visit pbpediatrics.com

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Local agency aims to heal the frontline healers

NEWS RELEASE

September  10, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com
561-632-6747

New training creates happy, healthy healers and a happy, healthy workforce

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) recently launched a training program, Healing the Healers, to address the stress and various challenges faced by helpers and healers in the medical, mental, and behavioral health professions. Healers and helpers have been on the frontlines of our communities, supporting individuals and families experiencing overwhelming stress, grief, and loss. This training is designed to refill their cups.

According to the American Medical Association: Between May 28 and October 1, 2020, using the AMA Coping with COVID-19 for Caregivers Survey, 20,947 health professionals from 42 health care organizations across the U.S. assessed their workers’ stress during the pandemic. The survey found that 61% of those surveyed felt high fear of exposing themselves or their families to COVID-19, while 38% self-reported experiencing anxiety or depression. Another 43% suffered from work overload and 49% had burnout.

Burnout is a long-term reaction to occupational stress which involves, particularly, helping professions. Burnout can be caused by secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, stress or moral injury. According to several studies, it appears that up to 67% of mental health workers may be experiencing high levels of burnout, with the significant long-term impact of COVID to be determined.

Healing the Healers is designed to decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. The four-hour training teaches self-care and resilience-building strategies.

“Teaching these strategies is more important than ever as we witness frontline workers experiencing alarming rates of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even suicide as a result of the pandemic. We must make sure that those who are helping to heal others are healthy themselves,” stated Renée Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling. 

By utilizing CFCC’s online learning platform, the training is accessible to any healing professional anywhere in the world. 

Supported by grants from Healthier Jupiter, Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and BeWellPBC, the training is low cost or free for healers in Palm Beach County to promote healing and wellness in our local community. 

Register online: centerforchildcounseling.org/healinghealers. For information on discounted rates or limited in-person training availability, email info@centerforchildcounseling.org

UPCOMING MEDIA/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY:

To formally kickoff the new Healing the Healers training, Center for Child Counseling’s entire staff of 73 members will take the training during Mental Health Wellness Day on September 27, 2021. The hybrid event will incorporate staff members participation from either in-person at the Riviera Beach City Marina (200 E 13th St, Riviera Beach, FL 33404) or online. This day will include Healing the Healers training, self-care, team building, and fun activities.

About Center for Child Counseling
Since 1999, Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

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Youth mental health, an echo pandemic, escalates demand for supportive adults

NEWS RELEASE

June 23, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com
561-632-6747 

Youth mental health, an echo pandemic, escalates demand for supportive adults

Online training and public health campaign gives adult caregivers a new way to simply ‘be’ around children and build a trauma-informed community

While COVID-19 physically impacts some, it has impacted mental health on a much broader scale. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study reported a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health–related emergency department visits for youth aged 12–17 years during 2020 as compared to 2019. 

Stress-induced cognitive and physical impairments and toxic stress related to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic has been prolonged and exaggerated. Another recent survey found that 64% of teens believe “the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation’s mental health,” and 6 in 10 teens say their sources of support are harder to reach than normal.

Youth mental health issues have caused an echo pandemic of increased incidences of depression, anxiety, and suicide, escalating the demand for both therapists and other supportive adults who are mentally healthy themselves.

The science of early adversity proves that in the absence of protective relationships, toxic stress in childhood can change the architecture of the developing brain. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact everything–classroom behaviors, learning and comprehension, the ability to self-regulate–and can dramatically heighten the risk for future mental and physical health concerns. 

Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) recently launched “A Way of Being with Children: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Building Resilience.” This online training for parents, teachers, childcare workers, or anyone who regularly interacts with children and families, along with a public health campaign, aim to build a more trauma-informed community so that children can grow up with adults who understand the impact of trauma and adversity and do not risk re-traumatizing children through their words or actions.

Being trauma-informed involves understanding, sensitivity, and a deep knowledge of how trauma can affect a child’s growing brain and potentially result in lifelong physical and mental health implications.

The 5.5 hour online course, accompanied by a spiral-bound manual with over 80 pages of practical advice and technique-building exercises, introduces a new way for adults to simply “be” around children–a better way that can help bring families closer together and make the time spent with children happier and more fulfilling. Based on decades of research into childhood brain development and the expertise of countless childcare workers and professional therapists, “A Way of Being” aims to create family and school relationships where children feel accepted and parents and teachers feel empowered. 

Center for Child Counseling was founded in 1999 with the vision that every child will grow up feeling safe and nurtured in communities where they can thrive. CFFC’s work started in Palm Beach County, Florida, childcare centers, providing therapeutic support for young children experiencing adversity and trauma, while equipping their caregivers with effective practices for building social-emotional well-being and resilience. 

The Center’s work has expanded beyond childcare centers to now working with children birth to age 18 in schools, the community, and the child welfare system. A primary goal is to help providers, educators, caregivers, and child-serving systems to shift their everyday ‘way of being’ with children, families, and communities who have experienced adversity and trauma from a “What’s wrong with you?” to a “What happened to you?” approach. Using a prevention and healing-centered lens, CFCC focuses on changing the systems and practices that keep adversity and trauma firmly in place. 

For over two decades, CFCC has worked in partnership with families and communities, interacting with children in their most natural state of being: when they are at play. “A Way of Being” was developed based on this work and research over the last twenty years–grounded in science, guided by the voices of the families helped, and founded on best-practice principles using a trauma-informed, racial-equity lens. 

In conjunction with the online training, the Center has also launched a public health campaign on social media–including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube–promoting this new way of being. The campaign aims to build awareness and education of the positive ways that adults can interact with the children in their lives to build lifelong resilience. 

“The goal is for all community members to understand and own the idea that we each have a stake and role in child and family wellbeing. The need for adults to provide positive mental health support has significantly increased during COVID-19. Children have tremendous potential–which our society needs–and which we have a shared obligation to foster and protect,” said Reneé Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling. 

“A Way of Being with Children” online training and public health campaign has been made possible through the partnership and support of  Florida Blue Foundation, Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. Grants from these funding partners make the training (live and online) available to childcare centers and public schools in Palm Beach County at no cost.

For more information on “A Way of Being” or to register for the online training or purchase the manual, visit: centerforchildcounseling.org/awayofbeing. For more information on training options for childcare centers, schools, or organizations, contact: info@centerforchildcounseling.org.

About Center for Child Counseling
Since 1999, Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. 

Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

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Online training and public health campaign to transform adult caregivers

NEWS RELEASE

May 26, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com
561-632-6747 

Center for Child Counseling launches online training and public health campaign to transform adult caregivers 

A new way to simply ‘be’ around children and build a trauma-informed community

Center for Child Counseling recently launched “A Way of Being with Children: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Building Resilience.” This online training for parents, teachers, childcare workers, or anyone who regularly interacts with children and families, along with a public health campaign, aim to build a more trauma-informed community so that children can grow up with adults who understand the impact of trauma and adversity and do not risk re-traumatizing children through their words or actions.

Being trauma-informed involves understanding, sensitivity, and a deep knowledge of how trauma can affect a child’s growing brain and potentially result in lifelong physical and mental health implications.

The 5.5 hour online course, accompanied by a spiral-bound manual with over 80 pages of practical advice and technique-building exercises, introduces a new way for adults to simply “be” around children–a better way that can help bring families closer together and make the time spent with children happier and more fulfilling. Based on decades of research into childhood brain development and the expertise of countless childcare workers and professional therapists, “A Way of Being” aims to create family and school relationships where children feel accepted and parents and teachers feel empowered. 

Center for Child Counseling was founded in 1999 with the vision that every child will grow up feeling safe and nurtured in communities where they can thrive. CFFC’s work started in Palm Beach County childcare centers, providing therapeutic support for young children experiencing adversity and trauma, while equipping their caregivers with effective practices for building social-emotional well-being and resilience. 

The Center’s work has expanded beyond childcare centers to now working with children birth to age 18 in schools, the community, and the child welfare system. A primary goal is to help providers, educators, caregivers, and child-serving systems to shift their ‘way of being’ with children, families, and communities who have experienced adversity and trauma from a “What’s wrong with you?” to a “What happened to you?” approach. Using a prevention and healing-centered lens, CFCC focuses on changing the systems and practices that keep adversity and trauma firmly in place. 

The science of early adversity proves that in the absence of protective relationships, toxic stress in childhood can change the architecture of the developing brain. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact everything–classroom behaviors, learning and comprehension, the ability to self-regulate–and can dramatically heighten the risk for future mental and physical health concerns. 

For over two decades, CFCC has worked in partnership with families and communities, interacting with children in their most natural state of being: when they are at play. “A Way of Being” was developed based on this work and research over the last twenty years–grounded in science, guided by the voices of the families helped, and founded on best-practice principles using a trauma-informed, racial-equity lens. 

“A Way of Being” represents a shift in working with children and each other. It provides the foundation for shifting everyday practice to support children’s social-emotional well-being to build lifelong resilience. 

In conjunction with the online training, the Center has also launched a public health campaign on social media–including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube–promoting this new way of being. The campaign aims to build awareness and education of the positive ways that adults can interact with the children in their lives. 

“The goal is for all community members to understand and own the idea that we each have a stake and role in child and family wellbeing. Children have tremendous potential–which our society needs–and which we have a shared obligation to foster and protect,” said Reneé Layman, chief executive officer of Center for Child Counseling. 

“A Way of Being with Children” online training and public health campaign has been made possible through the partnership and support of  Florida Blue Foundation, Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

For more information on “A Way of Being” or to register for the online training or purchase the manual, visit: centerforchildcounseling.org/awayofbeing. For more information on training options for childcare centers, schools, or organizations, contact: dominika@centerforchildcounseling.org.

Since 1999, Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships.

PHOTO ID:

Sample of public health approach awareness campaign being used on social media.

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Advisory for May 20: Justice Pariente to Lead the Fight Against ACEs in Statewide Pane

Justice Barbara Pariente to Lead the Fight Against ACEs in Statewide Panel on Thursday, May 20


WHAT:

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente is leading the fight against adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as the moderator of Part One of a statewide panel and resource series hosted by Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) on Thursday, May 20 at 10:30 AM. CFCC has developed this new action series in response to the pandemic and the urgent need to move forward policies and practices that support children’s mental health and resilience. 

Research shows that ACEs are the root cause of many crises our communities face. Gun violence, domestic abuse, overflowing jails, homelessness, child abuse, addiction, chronic disease, and mental illness–compounded by systemic racism, adverse community environments, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel will offer opening remarks about the importance of community leadership in treating and preventing ACEs by using a public health approach and building trauma-informed communities. 

This exclusive, virtual event for system, business, philanthropic, civic, and school leaders aims to combat childhood trauma and adversity within families and communities through education, discourse, action, and advocacy. CFCC is excited to have this important conversation during Mental Health Awareness Month and more specifically on May 20th where everyone in Palm Beach County is encouraged to Get Your Green On to support mental health.

The panelists include:

Dr. Eugenia Millender, Associate Professor, Florida State University
Dr. Mimi Graham, Director of Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy
Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine, President at Palm Beach Pediatrics and President of the Pediatric Society of Palm Beach County
Judge Kathleen J. Kroll, Circuit Court Judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County
Kathy Leone, Vice Chairman of the Community Alliance of Palm Beach County
Julie Fisher Cummings, Philanthropist, Board Chair Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties

Note: there is no fee for this virtual event. Register early as capacity is limited.

Partnership sponsors who are leading the fight in making this important and necessary panel conversation possible include: Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, Ward Damon Attorneys at Law, Keiser University, GL HOMES, The Florida Center, and Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith.

CFCC’s Fighting ACEs initiative to build trauma-informed communities is made possible with the generous support of Quantum Foundation, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and private donors.

WHEN:
Thursday, May 20, 2021
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

WHERE:
Click to register to attend this virtual event. 

MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Cara Scarola Hansen
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com
(561) 632-6747

Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships.

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ACEs and Minorities

ACEs and Minorities

ACEs can affect anybody, anywhere. Children experiencing adverse situations, and adults who experienced adversity when they were children, come from all walks of life. ACEs are not confined to any particular race, religion, socio-economic background, or nationality. Any child can experience the sustained toxic stress associated with untreated trauma and suffer negative mental and physical health effects.

The original study on Adverse Childhood Experiences conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and insurance giant Kaiser Permanente in the mid-1990s unearthed this fact early in their research. Their study was conducted among 17,000 middle-class Americans living in Southern California. Even though these original participants were not necessarily representative of the average American, approximately half of them had still experienced at least one ACE.

Subsequent US-based ACE studies, including the largest study conducted to date between 2011 and 2014, have consistently shown the same general prevalence of ACEs among American children. This far larger sample group, and the data accumulated from many studies, highlighted some startling differences in who is most likely to suffer from ACEs. Children from minority backgrounds—whether based on race, socio-economic standing, or sexual orientation—were at distinctly higher risk of ACEs and their devastating life-long effects than middle-class white children.

At-Risk Minority Groups

Children of different races and ethnicities across the country do not experience the same exposure to ACEs. In the United States, 61% of black children and 51% of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, compared to 40% of white children. In every part of the country, the lowest rate of ACEs was among Asian children. In most areas, the population most at risk was black children.

Geographic regions also showed different results. Compared to the national average of 1 in 10 children experiencing and ACE score of 3 or more, in 5 states—Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio—1 in 7 children had experienced the same.

In Florida, 49% of children between birth and 17 reported no ACEs. 26% reported 1 ACE, 14% reported 2 ACEs and 10% reported 3 or more ACEs. This is generally in line with national averages.

The high occurrence of ACEs among minorities can likely be attributed to the uneven provision of services and opportunities in minority neighborhoods. This inequity is caused by social determinants of health. The World Health Organization describes the social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources.” These result in the unfair but avoidable differences in health status seen between different neighborhoods, zip codes, and even states. The social determinants of health are responsible for most health and other social disparities.

ACEs Clusters

ACEs are the result of not only situations children face within their own homes or families but the general circumstances in which they live. Because the impact of ACEs is cumulative, we see high rates in areas where several detrimental situations are occurring simultaneously. For example, a neighborhood where there is a high rate of unemployment, few educational opportunities, a strong gang presence, and high rates of domestic violence is likely to produce children who are suffering from clusters of ACEs. Because of this, ACE studies now look at the cumulative effects of ACEs rather than the individual effects of any one specific ACE.

ACEs caused by the community environments where a child is raised go hand-in-hand with the ACEs occurring in individual homes and within families.

So, ACEs aren’t a racial issue; they’re a societal one. People with low incomes and limited education are also more likely to experience ACEs, as are people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or are questioning their gender or sexuality (the LGBTQ community). According to numerous research papers, including one published by the US National Library of medicine/National Institutes of Health, this group has a dramatically higher chance of experiencing childhood trauma, probably the result of lack of understanding among family members, the taboo of discussing these issues in some communities, and the stigma often imposed by society at large.

Helping children in these particular minority groups involves cultural sensitivity and the kind of community education that takes a long time to penetrate established ways of thinking. For many children confronting overwhelming adversity and inequity, buffering relationships are needed. It is essential to address the rejection and hardships they are statistically likely to experience in their lives - with a mental health professional or caring mentor or teacher who understands the impact of these experiences. Success among marginalized groups involves developing strong internal fortitude in children and encouraging them to eventually find accepting, supportive friends, if these relationships are not available at home or school.

It’s clear that minorities, children living in economically challenged neighborhoods, and members of traditionally marginalized groups are in particular need of support in the fight against ACEs.

Solutions

Now that we know that certain groups are more likely to experience ACEs, what can we do? As individuals and communities, we can channel our efforts. A high ACE score does not predestine a child for poor life outcomes, but it does identify that child as vulnerable. Since the fight against ACEs has two primary weapons, namely 1.) building resilience and 2) promoting healthy relationships (the internal and external supports, if you like), we can provide two practical forms of assistance to targeted groups.

Building Internal Coping Skills

To build resilience in children, they need to be taught how to self-regulate and cope. Anybody can help a child to develop these vital skills. Simple techniques like providing encouragement, supporting special interests, and even just taking notice of a child is, in some small way, building self-esteem and promoting independence and strength. Children will copy the actions of adults, especially those they admire. Showing children how to calmly and fairly negotiate, compromise, demonstrate empathy, and look at all sides of an issue can help them establish a new way of thinking. Remember that children mimic both positive and negative behaviors, so it’s important to carefully consider the messages you’re sending with your behaviors and choices.

Providing External Support Systems

Of course, the most at-risk children may need professional assistance to build effective coping skills and resilience. Offering age-appropriate early intervention and mental health care in childcare centers and elementary schools (especially in at-risk neighborhoods) is the obvious place to start. Center for Child Counseling, with support from local funders including Quantum Foundation, has developed a comprehensive model for childcare centers and schools, including trauma-informed education for all caregivers, classroom-based mindfulness activities, and direct services for children identified as needing assistance. The model focuses on transforming the school environment, which in the long-term, impacts all students.

Another approach is to provide supplemental support systems in at-risk neighborhoods. Many highly-respected nonprofits do just this by creating places where children can meet, play, and be in contact with positive, caring role models and mentors. Local organizations like Urban Youth Impact, the YMCA, Compass, and Big Brothers Big Sisters are all examples of nonprofits in Palm Beach County  focused on creating positive relationships that may be absent from the home.

And, as always, every one of us can play a role in the fight against ACEs by advocating for children, encouraging every child we encounter in our lives, and being on the alert for children who may need the support and help of a caring, ACEs-aware adult.

Sign up now for news, events, and education about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and promoting resilience.


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