A pilot program to help children exposed to violence and trauma that started nearly five years ago will celebrate another year of continued partnership in a ceremony at 12 noon Thursday, September 20, at the Eastern Division Police Substation.
The Greensboro Child Response Initiative (CRI) is a partnership led by NC A&T State University's Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness and the Greensboro Police Department. CRI is a coordinated community response that brings together law enforcement, medical and academic institutions, mental health providers, juvenile justice professionals, child protective services, community service agencies, and other advocates to ensure a coordinated community effort to heal the wounds created by exposure to violence and trauma.
CRI is an adaptation of a national model of community policing that has proven effective in changing the way that care has traditionally been provided to children. Any child who has experienced or witnessed violence or trauma is eligible for the program; it is not specific to any one type of violence or trauma.
The pilot program began in 2008 with a small group of community partners and was implemented by Family Service of the Piedmont until 2009.
Today, CRI has expanded and coordinates the Guilford County Trauma Provider Network, which consists of 10 mental health providers, 30 community-based agencies, Greensboro police detectives and patrol officers, and School Resource Officers in area middle and high schools. The team meets monthly to collaboratively help children and families move toward safety and wellness.
“The community partners in CRI are, by far, the most passionate advocates for healthy families we could ever hope for,” said Greensboro Chief of Police Ken Miller. “This group of caring, talented professionals is truly making a difference in the quality of life of our residents. The work that they do heals families and builds strong communities. They are simply amazing.”
In September of 2011, CRI partner agencies signed a joint Memorandum of Agreement documenting their commitment to work together to help keep children safe in our community. This month, the multi-agency partners have updated their commitments by formally renewing the agreement for another year.
Since the program began in the summer of 2008, CRI has served more than 2,800 children and families, most of who were witnesses or victims of either domestic violence or assault.
“We are very excited to celebrate another year of partnership to serve our community,” said Dr. Kelly Graves, executive director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness at A&T, who has been part of CRI since its inception.
As a licensed clinical psychologist, Graves has extensive clinical, research, and training experience, particularly around the areas of children exposed to violence and trauma and their families. Graves leads a talented team of child and family advocates that provide daily support for the program, including Mandy Curley, Lisa Taylor, Wendy Scott, and Esther Mendez.
Graves was instrumental in obtaining the original start-up grant from the NC Governor’s Crime Commission and continues to work alongside Greensboro police to solidify and sustain this program. Currently, CRI is funded by the crime commission and the Cone Health Foundation, whose mission is to invest in the development and support of activities, programs, and organizations that measurably improve the health of people in the greater Greensboro area.
To make a referral to CRI, or to attend the CRI Partnership Ceremony, please call the referral line at 336-451-5146.
The City works with the community to improve the quality of life for residents through inclusion, diversity, and trust. As the seventh largest employer in Greensboro, the City has a professional staff of about 3,000 employees who maintain the values of honesty, integrity, stewardship, and respect. The City is governed by a council-manager form of government with a mayor and eight council members. For more information on the City, visit www.greensboro-nc.gov or call 373-CITY (2489).