Children’s Bureau New Orleans Struggling to Meet Emotional Needs of Local Kids

Client Artwork (1)[2]

 

New Orleans children are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at rates four times higher than their peers around the country. In a survey of more than 1,000 local children:

  • 37 percent reported witnessing domestic violence;
  • 54 percent had someone close to them murdered;
  • 1 in 5 had witnessed a murder; and
  • 4 in 10 had seen someone shot, stabbed or killed.

The Children’s Bureau New Orleans (CBNO) is a powerful resource helping children and families with crisis intervention and grief and trauma counseling.

“Profoundly stressful experiences, especially when they reoccur, change the way we act and react in life, and when that happens in critical periods of development, behavior and attachment are altered,” said CBNO’s President/CEO Charlotte Cunliffe. “This is a very different picture of what we envision childhood should be, and yet this is a reality for many children in New Orleans.”

 

The Coronavirus has further compounded issues of grief and trauma for our children, in that:

  • children are experiencing the traumatic and sudden loss of important people in their lives – family, neighbors, teachers;
  • the economic impact of the coronavirus has created an elevated risk for domestic violence and homelessness; and
  • schools are the main source of clinical referrals and the primary setting where our clinicians provide services. School closure has cut off children’s access to vital services, and schools will face overwhelming student need upon reopening.

“The need for children’s mental health services has always been substantial in New Orleans and now even it’s even greater,” said Cunliffe. “Given that many agencies have closed or laid off employees, there will not be adequate resources to meet the level of need that exists. As a result, the Children’s Bureau desperately needs help to keep our services in place for our community’s most vulnerable children.”

Children’s Bureau clinicians are specially trained in evidence-based practices for grief and trauma, including a Grief and Trauma Intervention (GTI) model developed specifically with New Orleans youth and families. The agency offers several programs.

 

Project LAST (Loss and Survival Team)

This program provides therapeutic services to children and families impacted by a traumatic event, as well as those who have lost a loved one or witnessed and/or been a victim of violence.

 

LA BEST (Behavioral and Emotional Support Team)

This program provides interventions and services to school communities who have experienced acute, traumatic loss, like the death of a teacher or student. Clinicians trained in CBNO’s GTI model go into schools to offer group and individual counseling, assessment and follow-up services to support children and school staff, as well as family members in some cases.

 

Quality START

The Children’s Bureau offers mental health consultation services to childcare centers in New Orleans as part of the Quality Start program, a state initiative to increase the quality of childcare centers. Clinicians with specialized knowledge of young children work with childcare centers to enhance their ability to contribute to the emotional wellbeing of children.

 

“Addressing mental and behavioral needs at a young age helps prevent serious problems from occurring later in life,” said Cunliffe.

CBNO shared the following testimonial from a clinician about an adolescent client who was in treatment for the traumatic loss of her father and was shown a specific image.

The image was of two bookshelves. The first is labeled “Day 1” and contains only a single book titled “Grief.”  The other shelf is labeled “Day 1,843” and contains the volume titled “Grief” but it is alongside other books and objects. When the client was asked what she thought about the image, she drew parallels with the growth she had made in therapy.

She drew her own bookshelf. Hers included the t-shirt and dog tag necklace from her father’s funeral, the glitter jars and activities she had done in session with her therapist, a camera because she loves photography, a clock to show that time continues to go on, and her school books to show that she’s going toward her high school and college goals. After this image was taken, she added a globe to show that her future would also include travel and adventure.

“Profoundly stressful experiences, especially when they reoccur, change the way we act and react in life, and when that happens in critical periods of development, behavior and attachment are altered,” said CBNO’s President/CEO Charlotte Cunliffe. “This is a very different picture of what we envision childhood should be, and yet this is a reality for many children in New Orleans.”

 

 


 

CBNO’s Mission:

To improve the quality of life for children and families in Greater New Orleans through valid and proven programs that enhance and strengthen mental health and wellness.

 

Vision:

That all children will thrive in happy and healthy families and reach their fullest potential.

 

Success:

In the last 10 years, CBNO has served more than 4,500 children through Project LAST — funded completely by individual donors and grants, with no cost to families.

 

In the last five years, CBNO has worked with more than 40 different schools in New Orleans, serving tens of thousands of children, teachers, staff and families.

 

How businesses and individuals can help:

  • Underwrite the crisis intervention at a local school.
  • Challenge the agency with a match grant.
  • Commit to monthly giving (A small gift each month adds up to a big annual impact).
  • Give a one-time capacity building gift of your choice.

 

Donations can be made by visiting childrensbureaunola.org and clicking on the “Donate” button.

 

Address: 2626 Canal St., Ste 201

New Orleans, LA 70119

 

Phone: (504) 821-9110

Website: Children’s Bureau of New Orleans: Home

 

 

 

 

Categories: Labors of Love