Children’s Square U.S.A.

Organization Name:  Children’s Square U.S.A.

Mission:  To teach (each child) every day, the values and life skills essential to a successful life – one full of caring, contribution, and commitment.

Funded Program Description:  Children’s Square operates several mental health services including a psychiatric residential treatment program for children ages 8 – 17, a Pediatric Integrated Health Home for children who are on Medicaid and have a mental health diagnosis, and outpatient therapy and skill building on our nine acre campus in Council Bluffs and from our office in Omaha. The therapists in Omaha primarily work with foster children in homes we supervise. We use an evidence-based approach and offer different approaches to meet each individual’s need. Specialized training for our therapists and direct care staff is crucial.

For Direct Care Staff: Train the Trainer for Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and certification for Residential Child and Youth Care professionals

For Therapists: Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for children with sexual acting out behaviors; (EMDR) – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing; and (PCIT) Parent Child Interaction Therapy

“Children’s Square U.S.A. implemented Crisis Prevention Institute’s non-violent intervention training in January 2019. In the first three months of utilizing Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training, Children’s Square U.S.A. held the training three times and trained 24 direct care workers. Over the six month’s following implementation of CPI, Children’s Square U.S.A. saw a 71% reduction in physical restraints. Children’s Square U.S.A. believes that this is due to CPI placing its focus on the de-escalation process and techniques rather than the physical hold itself. This allows us as a mental health treatment facility to remain trauma informed and provides the ability to avoid unnecessary physical restraints that produce a potential for triggering the trauma response.”

Population Served from January through December 2019: In 2019, two therapists were trained in EMDR.  They have served 10 clients in both outpatient and residential treatment. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach to help people heal from trauma.  EMDR is effective and well supported by research evidence for treating children with symptoms accompanying post-traumatic stress (PTSD), attachment issues, dissociation, and self-regulation. When a traumatic event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations experienced during the event. Whenever a reminder of the traumatic event comes up those pictures, thoughts, feelings, and sensations can continue to be triggered.  EMDR seems to stimulate the information processing system of the brain allowing traumatic memories to be unlocked, transformed, and taken to an adaptive resolution. For traumatized children, using EMDR is particularly effective as it happens inside the client’s mind. And doesn’t require the client to talk through everything he or she is mentally experiencing, it enables individuals to deal with traumatic memories more quickly.

Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: I finally said goodbye to my dark bad day. – 10 year old male

It was trying; but in the end it changed a lot, it really opened up my world of I can do it and I am in control. – 16 year old with 11 sessions  

I thought all the bad things that happened to me were my fault, but now I can let other people be responsible for their own mistakes and focus on healing instead of putting myself down. – 14 year old client after 12 sessions of EMDR

My child feels safe again and dangerous behaviors have stopped. – parent of 4 year old client after six sessions of EMDR

I’m thinking about my future and making plans for the first time because before I didn’t think I would live to see the future. – 14 year old client after eight session of EMDR

I used to look at my past and just see a lot of bad, messed up stuff, but now I see all the things that made me stronger. – 15 year old client after five sessions of EMDR

Other Comments:  We are so proud of both our hardworking therapists that are working from home and meeting with children and families online and our residential staff who continue to serve our children in need 24 – 7, 365 days a year!

Contact Information:

Cheryl Clark
VP of Resource Development
Children’s Square U.S.A.
Work: 712-325-5920

Lana Verbrigghe
Senior Director of Programs
Work: 712-325-5871