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WUNC reports from Greensboro about Guilford County and surrounding area.

Guilford County Receives Its First Nationally Recognized Child Trauma Recovery Center

Lynn Hey

Smiling faces of children and adults listened to a youth choir outside The Kellin Foundation. The nonprofit celebrated being nationally recognized as a child trauma recovery center by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

It’s the first nationally recognized center in Guilford County. The Kellin Foundation will receive $400,000 for the next five years as they work to help families and children recover from traumatic situations.

Credit Lynn Hey / WUNC
Dr. Kelly Graves, executive director and co-founder of the Greensboro non-profit Kellin Foundation, speaks as the foundation is recognized as National Child Traumatic Stress Network Community Treatment and Services Center on May 20, 2019, in Greensboro, N.C.

“It’s not just things like sexual assault and domestic violence, it’s things like bullying and car accidents,” Kellin Foundation Executive Director and Co-Founder Kelly Graves said. “Different things impact children differently. So being able to help educate community about what trauma and toxic stress looks like in children, we’ll be better able to help kids.”

The Kellin Foundation was established in 2013 but officially opened its doors in 2016 in Greensboro. It provides services like free or reduced-cost mental health and substance abuse assessments and counseling, case management, victim advocacy, peer support services and youth empowerment training. Last year, it served more than 8,200 people, including 5,180 children.

Anyone can refer themselves or others to the organization. Then they go through therapy, set goals and other exercises.

Credit Lynn Hey / WUNC
The Kellin Foundation's new center provides services for children and families who experienced or witnesses traumatic events.

This center joins three other nationally recognized sites in Durham and Charlotte. The recognition comes with access to resources and best practices from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The NCTSN was created to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience traumatic events.

The designation by the national network puts the Kellin Foundation among over 100 such centers nationwide.

As an NCTSN community site, Kellin Foundation will receive partial federal funding through 2023 to support its Treehouse Trauma Recovery Program. The Treehouse provides trauma-informed, culturally-competent, and community-based recovery services for individuals who have been exposed to violence and trauma.

Credit Lynn Hey / WUNC
The Sunrise Class of New Garden Friends School performs during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Kellin Foundation.

“Kids are incredibly resilient however there’s a myriad of research and science behind the fact that they body, the brain is impacted by these traumatic experiences,” Site Integration and Collaboration Program Director Jennifer Grady said. “With the appropriate treatment and resources kids can get better, and without them that battle is going to be much hard fought and not always winnable.”

Graves hopes that this designation will help people realize that everyone, including children, needs to take care of their mental health

“There’s such a stigma around receiving help and mental health treatment and I think we as a community really have to work on that,” she said. “If we’ve seen nothing else across the country over the last couple of years, it’s been that a lot of times, there’s been underlying mental issues."

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