Marquette Wire

Behavior Clinic receives nearly $2 million grant

Marquette+partners+with+Penfield+Children%27s+Center+to+provide+trauma-focused+treatment+for+children.
Marquette partners with Penfield Children's Center to provide trauma-focused treatment for children.

Marquette partners with Penfield Children's Center to provide trauma-focused treatment for children.

Marquette partners with Penfield Children's Center to provide trauma-focused treatment for children.

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The Behavior Clinic, a partnership between Marquette University and Penfield Children’s Center, received a five-year grant of nearly $2 million to provide trauma-focused treatment for children.

The Behavior Clinic provides in-home counseling and services that cater to a child’s early development to prevent serious mental health issues from developing in the future. It helps children cope with traumas such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, observing violent crime, domestic abuse and other psychological triggers for children living within the inner city.

The grant, totaling $1,930,732, is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The trauma-focused treatment is for children who were just born up to 6 years old.

Ninety-five percent of families that seek help from Penfield Children’s Center are below the poverty level and three-fourths are single mothers, some with less than a high school education. The counseling itself focuses on three distinct areas: education, health and wellness and family engagement.

“We have shown some really incredible results with working with the families,” said Jason Parry, vice president of development and communications at Penfield Children’s Center. “Due to this amazing partnership with Marquette University, we can take what we’ve learned and share it with a much broader audience.”

The clinic’s research and staff, which includes Marquette faculty and students, are published in nationally read magazines, noted in conferences around the country and offer online teaching components through Marquette. The clinic shares its results with other similar facilities.

“We look at meeting the needs of the whole child and the family,” Parry said. “As a result of the incredible work that our Behavior Clinic staff is performing on a daily basis with Milwaukee families, we are putting these children in a great position to succeed in school.”

Dr. Robert Fox, a Marquette professor and the consulting psychologist at the Behavior Clinic, uses Behavior Clinic clients for his research. His doctoral students assist him as well, and their dissertations are published and shared with the community for further research. Dr. Fox said they hope to help counsel over 1,400 children with the five-year grant.

“If we get the children past this trauma and behavior problems early enough, it gives them a better start. Because we know that without treatment, they’re just going to get worse and become problems in school and in adolescence,” Fox said.

In November 2015 the clinic received a national certification from SAMHSA  as a nationally replicable model. Having this recognition opened up the opportunity to apply for the $2 million grant.

“This grant is also for us to expand the community’s capacity for treating young children and understanding trauma and trauma symptoms in young children,” said Heather Rotolo, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the Behavior Clinic.

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