GCESC receives five-year trauma grant


YELLOW SPRINGS — Greene County Educational Service Center has been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant to increase access to trauma-focused treatment and prevention services for children, adolescents and families in Greene County.

The project, titled “Community Health & Resilience Initiative” or CHRI, will provide real-time integrated consultation, screening, assessment, and intervention at three Greene County partnering organizations: Children services, juvenile court, and police departments in Xenia and Fairborn. These partnerships will expand embedded mental health services model the GCESC has provided to Greene County schools for the past 21 years.

The grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“Expansion of mental health prevention and treatment within these crisis-oriented systems of care puts access to services at the front door for children, adolescents, and families who have experienced trauma,” said GCESC Director of Mental Health Services Anya Senetra. “Supporting children and families at the earliest point of a crisis can lessen the negative impact and distress these adverse events can have on child development and family functioning.”

Grant funding began this month. It is projected to reach more than 4,500 youth, family members, and community providers through prevention, promotion, outreach, and direct treatment strategies. Greene County Juvenile Court and GCESC co-leadership in launching the Handle with Care initiative this past year inspired Senetra to apply for this grant.

The Miami Valley has had its resilience tested by several high impact events in a short period of time, GCESC officials said in a release. Communities throughout the region have continued to battle the opioid epidemic that has ravaged Ohio while grappling with the isolation of social distancing, isolation, and disrupted schooling due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 came on the heels of recovery from the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes and the Oregon District shooting.

“The collateral damage of these events on children, families and frontline workers has amplified Greene County’s safety and trauma needs,” officials said in the release.

Beth Rubin, director of Greene County Job & Family Services, and her staff at Children Services helped gather key data for the grant proposal.

“The focus on trauma and resilience is timely and valuable for our entire community and the multi organization collaboration is very exciting and a true opportunity to build resilience in children and families,” Rubin said. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Greene County ESC to support families and children impacted by trauma.”

This collaborative project at the GCESC brings together agencies and maximizes resources.

“We’re excited to be included in this grant opportunity and be part of a collaborative team with the ESC and other community partners,” Greene County Juvenile Court Judge Amy H. Lewis said. “Research shows that children who experience adverse childhood experiences are at risk for poor health and social outcomes. This grant will allow us to provide both trauma informed care to court involved youth who have experienced adverse childhood events and support their recovery from these traumatic events.”

The CHRI grant project will share training opportunities across the three partnering agencies as well as the Family Violence Prevention Center. Expanding the CHRI grant training across all of the county crisis-oriented systems of care will expand access and create a community of trauma-trained professionals. Additionally, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene & Madison will be facilitating organizational assessment processes with community partners to increase understanding of trauma and enhance the trauma-focused and sensitive policies, procedures and practices in local organizations.

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