CHOP to open Grief and Trauma Center for youth in West and Southwest Philly
Coming out of the pandemic and still enduring one of the worst gun violence spikes in history. Children often bear the brunt.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected people of all walks of life in Philadelphia.
By and large, children had to bear the brunt of the pandemic, leaving them with pent up emotions, anxiety, and trauma.
Some were left with emotional scars that remain unmended.
In response, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has launched a new Grief and Trauma Center so children can receive the proper help from trained professionals to start their long recoveries from trauma.
CHOP is partnering with the CHOP's Center for Violence Prevention (CVP), the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and the Uplift Center for Grieving Children to provide virtual services for children struggling with their emotions.
Sessions can be provided at an after school setting.
“We know chronic exposure to violence and other trauma can lead to learning challenges and physical and behavioral health issues,” said Alonso South, the senior director of community engagement at CHOP. “As a result, it is critical that we help these children build resilience and buffer them against the traumatic exposure to community violence, as well as grief and loss from the pandemic."
The program will also train adults and parents the necessary support skills to provide trauma-stricken children.
The collaboration complements the existing partnership between CHOP and Uplift through Healthier Together's Growing Resilience in Teens program. In this new effort, Uplift is working with two of the Netter Center's University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS), which provide flexible hours for in-school and after school sessions with Master-level grief clinicians for students in K-12 provided by Uplift.
Uplift also hosts monthly family empowerment workshops centered on building emotional strength and understanding for grief, trauma, and social-emotional health.
By providing these beneficial resources, children are able to discuss the ongoing dilemmas they have, whether it's about a family death, a loved one incarcerated, or the struggles of virtual learning.
These services come at a time where Philadelphia has been swept up in a gun violence epidemic unlike any it’s seen before.
A new support group has also been provided for staff members helping children, so they also can discuss their own secondary trauma and help strengthen their knowledge on working with children experiencing grief.
CHOP's CVP provides Trauma-Informed Care Support with workshops and necessary coaching. Stress Less Initiative trainings will be available to all workers and directors involved in guiding children in the necessary steps.
"The Stress Less Initiative training provided by CHOP allows time for bonding among team members, which is so important for building a team that can best address the needs of these children," says Latifah Anderson, the Netter Center's UACS Site Director of Hamilton and Mitchell Elementary Schools.
For more information on CHOP’s new grieving center visit their website.