Children & Families First Trauma Response Team wins award

July 11, 2021

Children & Families First, a Delaware-based nonprofit organization, recently received the 2021 Compassionate Champion Organization Award.

The award, announced by Gov. John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, is the state’s highest honor to acknowledge those who go above and beyond in providing compassionate care. It is presented by the Family Services Cabinet Council and Trauma Matters Delaware each May, during Trauma Matters Month.

This year’s award specifically recognized the work of CFF’s Trauma Response Team, a volunteer-based group of master’s- and doctorate-level mental health professionals from various departments within the agency. The team offers a trauma-informed response to potentially traumatic events impacting CFF staff, interns and volunteers. The team uses a combination of individual, group, and drop-in formats, both in person and virtual. Responding to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis and the national protests decrying racial injustice, TRT services were expanded to include regularly scheduled proactive virtual group sessions with interactive, practical mindfulness and self-care activities, and focused discussion topics.

“I am honored to share our inspirational journey in becoming a trauma-informed organization,” said Dr. Julius Mullen, CFF chief clinical officer. “I’m reminded once again of the talented, committed professionals we have at CFF.” Current members of CFF’s TRT team include: chairs - Nicole Luther, MA, ATR-BC, CPAT, and Matthew Hamilton, MSW; Lean Handwerk, LCSW; Tina Jezyk, MS, NCC; Kelley Lumpkin, LPCMH; Matrice Kennedy, LSW, LMSW; Kiera McGillivray, LMFT; Cassie McLaughlin, MS; Tysean Milligan, MSW; Philinda Mindler, LCSW; Karlee Moore, MSW; Joan Rayer, LCSW; Kim Sabanayagam, LCSW; Kara Sullivan, LACMH; Theresa Vial, MSW; and Charlotte Wilson, MSW, LSW, LCDP, CAADC.

For more than 137 years, CFF has provided the right services, to the right people, at the right time. When children go through difficult life experiences such as witnessing or experiencing violence or abuse, or being isolated during a pandemic, what happens next makes all the difference. By providing evidence-based, trauma-informed programs and services, CFF prevents, intervenes and heals the impacts of childhood adversity.

“As an organization, we embody trauma-informed education, and we know the importance of infusing it into our work,” said Kirsten Olson, CEO. “This award honors all the incredible work our team has done and continues to do, to support not only our staff but also our community partners using trauma-informed approaches.”

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