$1.5 million of state funds to go towards new resiliency center for children, families with trauma

The resiliency center will be inside the Unified Clinics.
Resiliency Center WMU Unified Clinics
Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 17:21:56-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A resiliency center for families and children will soon be introduced to Western Michigan University's campus.

The new center is hoping to address the needs of those experiencing things like trauma, toxic stress and even susbstance use disorders.

$1.5 million of state funding is being given to the Unified Clinics as well as Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services to create the resiliency center. It's aimed at helping both families and children through integrated services.

The funding, which passed last week, had bipartisan support.

Inside the Unified Clinics on Western Michigan University's campus, the Children's Trauma Assessment Center has been serving area families for over 20 years.

"Annually we see about 300 families and children related to trauma through the child and welfare system, and we turn away numerous cases on a weekly basis," said the Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services Dean Dr. Ron Cisler.

With $1.5 million in state funding, WMU's College of Health and Human Services and the Unified Clinics are creating a resiliency center to serve not only children but families as well.

Dr. Ron Cisler said the funding will allow them to double the number of people they see.

"The resiliency center is a way to think very big about what children and families need who have experienced trauma, who have experienced toxic stress and who have experienced adversity in their lives. It's to say 'how do we create a place that can meet the needs on multiple levels'," said Western Michigan University's Children's Trauma Center Director Dr. Jim Henry.

The center will assess the family dynamic as a whole to better provide services that will address the needs of every person and not just one child.

"We know that if a child experiences trauma in his or her lifetime, it adds at least $200,000 plus in expenses over the child’s lifetime with medical and mental health, and behavioral health costs," said Dr. Cisler.

Dr. Henry said it's about recognizing that trauma alters development and resiliency restores that development, so it's important to work with the family dynamic.

"Kids heal through their parents. For us to be able to have this opportunity to create and support parents through these resources in our community is so essential," said Dr. Henry.

An additional $1.5 million has already been allocated but will need to be re-approved by the new legislature after November's election.

That additional money would bring the total from the state to $3 million which they are hoping to use towards the core of what they develop. Their hope is they'll then be able to sustain the center long term.