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Grant Spotlight: Child Saving Institute

Organization Name: Child Saving Institute

Mission: Champion What’s Best for Each Child and Family.

Funded Program Description: Child Saving Institute’s (CSI) Mental Health Services (MHS) provides outpatient mental health care to children, youth, and families through the Pediatric & Adolescent Therapy and Medication Management programs. MHS intentionally serves underserved populations – specifically those living in poverty and/or involved in the child welfare system – offering mental health and family support services to families with an emphasis on early intervention and suicide prevention for the most vulnerable populations in the community.

CSI therapy services have a strong foundation in attachment, trauma-informed principles and suicide prevention. A broad systems approach is incorporated, identifying those systems most critical to a client’s functioning, and addressing level of function in all aspects of life. Therapists provide comprehensive assessments, suicide risk assessments, diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical interventions, and bilingual therapy services. Additionally, CSI therapists work closely with the Medication Management program. When clients are interested in Medication Management, they are internally referred to the Psychiatric APRN for a psychiatric evaluation and ongoing support if medication is prescribed.

Child Saving Institute (CSI) specializes in trauma-informed and attachment-focused therapy and recognizes the complexities of each family’s situation, advocating on their behalf and providing information and referrals to best support each family’s success. CSI therapists have specialized training in a variety of best practices specifically designed to work with children who have been diagnosed with a variety of mental health conditions, including Play Therapy, Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

CSI understand that the challenges faced by clients include mental health challenges, child abuse and/or neglect, behavioral issues of children and adolescents, and juvenile court involvement.  Closely tied to these challenges faced by clients are suicidal risk factors. Therapists are trained to be proactive by addressing the risk of suicide for each client at their first intake meeting. This is done through the intake assessment that includes a complete risk assessment. The risk assessment is a series of questions about the client’s history including verbal, physical, or sexual abuse and neglect history; bullying; suicide or homicidal ideation; mental health hospitalizations; previous suicide attempts and risk of homelessness.

When suicidal risk factors are identified, a safety plan is created immediately. The therapist and client work together to create a Crisis Safety Plan that identify stressors and triggers; coping skills and tools to manage emotions; activities, people, or places to avoid to maintain emotional stability; items to remove from their home that present safety concerns; and natural supports that the client can rely on during a crisis situation. Each Crisis Safety Plan includes calling the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline and/or the Boys Town National Hotline. The Crisis Safety Plan states that the client agrees to call 911 or visit an emergency room if the predetermined methods are unable to keep them safe.

The client and therapist revisit the Crisis Safety Plan in each therapy session and update as needed.

Successes of Program or Inspiration Stories: Kim Foundation funding allowed CSI to grow the Pediatric and Adolescent Therapy and Medication Management program. This partnership has allowed CSI to increase the number of children and families that CSI can help, adding upwards of 50 additional open appointments. CSI is on pace to help more children and families in 2024 than in past years. It has also allowed for new trainings including Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Play Therapy with abuse and trauma that both aid in working with clients in crisis.

Other Comments: CSI values its partnership with The Kim Foundation and is grateful for their advocacy for improved mental health care and supporting the work that CSI does.