Vision 21: Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Demonstration Project

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) has received a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime at the Department of Justice. VDSS’ goal is to use this program to ensure that every child entering any of Virginia’s child-serving systems is assessed for victimization, provided comprehensive and coordinated services to fully address their needs.

With this program, our focus will be to assess and remove barriers such as governmental jurisdictions, funding sources, vastly differentiating program areas, and the lack of cross-systems knowledge,” explained VDSS Commissioner Margaret Schultze.  “Our priority is to continue to improve our practices to appropriately address the needs of child and youth victims and their families.

The work will seek to identify children who have been exposed to violence and experienced trauma and provide a systems of care that is not fragmented or re-traumatizing for the individual. They are working on a screening mechanism to help identify those individuals who may need trauma informed care and support.  This screening tool would be provided for professionals along with extensive training and support.

A major goal: to bring together all of the relevant systems and professionals to provide early identification, intervention, and treatment for child and youth victims and their families and caregivers.

Press release for more details: Press Release Template_Commissioner Approved2014

Interestingly, Virginia and Montana are the two states that received the funding for this project.  There is a 15 month planning phase and a five-year implementation phase.

Trauma informed care has been an area of study for me as a professional and within my place of employment.  I have found these resources helpful. Click on the highlighted resource to go to the website. Therapists and a support group are listed after the websites.

  • ACEs Connection Network You can read articles and network with other professionals. You can sign up for their email, newsletters.
  • A moving life story, “Healing Neen” After surviving a childhood of abuse and neglect, Tonier “Neen” Cain lived on the streets for two nightmarish decades, where she endured unrelenting violence, hunger and despair while racking up 66 criminal convictions related to her addiction. Incarcerated and pregnant in 2004, treatment for her lifetime of trauma offered her a way out… and up. Her story illustrates the consequences that untreated trauma has on individuals and society at-large, including mental health problems, addiction, homelessness and incarceration. Today, she is a nationally renowned speaker and educator on the devastation of trauma and the hope of recovery.   Tonier “Neen” Cain’s website: http://healingneen.com/

If you are local, I would like to share some resources that will help support your clients, or if you are in need of resources due to trauma.

Trauma Informed Care Therapists

  • Kathleen Sproul and Melody Padroza with Dominion Behavioral Healthcare, 794-4482, near Chesterfield Towne Center
  • Dr. Jane Kudlas, with Commonwealth Counseling, 423-1550, on Midlothian off 288
  • Lisa Brown, with Oxbridge Counseling, 276-5761, on Hull St.
  • Vicki Ipsen, in practice for herself, 893-4266, on Midlothian Turnpike
  • Dawn Terry, with Chesterfield Family Guidance, 743-0960, off Rt. !0 near Irongate Shopping Center

There is a great support group available:

The group is for women (18 and older) who have been sexually abused. The book the group uses is “Shelter from the Storm” by Cynthia Kubetin and James Mallory, MD. This is a workbook and needs to be done in a group format with a facilitator, not alone. For more information, please contact the facilitator, Sandy, at crossingover112@gmail.com

The facilitator of this support group recommends this book:

“On The Threshhold of Hope” by Diane Mandt Langberg is a good read if you are ready to seek help.

The Pursuit of Less

The pursuit of less.

I have typed and retyped this line.  I started off listing monumental events and pursuits for the last three years, but, honestly, that annoyed me.  I do it.  The list of busy.  We all do it because somehow hearing it makes us feel justified in our crazy town schedule. Deep inside you want someone to rescue you.

I will share this. After a three-year, intense doctorate program and an eventful year–graduation and my oldest daughter’s engagement and wedding– I found myself in a place.  I can’t even describe it to you.  It’s not a bad or sad place.  Just a place.

Once I hit the main street station of this place, and I realized that my train was not coming (no one is going to rescue me), I sat in the lobby of life, and God poured out a message.

Pursue Me.

Pursue less.

When I have questions, I talk to God.  I read His Word, and I listen to respected Christian leaders who have been around the block.  God uses His people.

I like to call them “light bulb” experiences, or “aha!” moments.  When many moments have a similar theme, I realize that God, my counselor, is talking directly to my struggles and hurts.

It would be too much to write in one post. I feel compelled to do so because I’ve personally learned so much.  My approach is to layout the journey. It took me the course of a few weeks to listen, read, and reflect.  I’m still reflecting.  A good podcast is my music station.  I listen on the go, or during a reflective moment.  So be creative, but do listen. You can click on the highlighted titles for the links to a specific podcast or information.

  1. Listen to Season 4, Episode 6: Watch Your Mouth, How Small Changes in Your Vocabulary Can Make a Big Impact on Your Life by Michael Hyatt. This will get you out of your funk stage.
  2. Listen to Season 5, Episode 1: Escape the Overwhelm, How to Regain Momentum When You Feel Paralyzed by Michael Hyatt.  This will help you take action and move forward.  It’s the “Okay, how?”
  3. Listen to Season 3, Episode 12, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, an interview with Greg McKeown. Greg is from England and has a great accent, so fun to listen to! 🙂 This will offer a huge paradigm shift in how you approach life, work, and play.
  4. Go to Greg McKeon’s website and sign up to get chapter one of his book on “Essentialism”–pursing less. I think I signed up to get his blog posts, and then chapter one came to me over email. Decide if you want to buy the book and read as a company, individual, or as a family.

5. Listen to Life With A Messy Mate 3 (August 14, 2015) by Sandra Felton on James Dobson’s family talk website.  God prepared me for this “in your face, but kind” podcast after steps 1 – 4.  I came home and filled an entire county waste garbage can.  I was so inspired, I asked my two girls to bring the huge can and put it on the front step of the house.  I filled a bag, dumped, filled a bag, threw it away, ….you get the idea.  I must confess that I had to push through to begin, but once I got started the family joined in, and we made it a party! Push through.  My youngest actually left my room to go to her room and purge items.  We got the fever! What hit me was a comment about how we place huge value on insignificant items because “they belong to me”. Who cares?! Throw it away! When Greg, from England, asked about seeing my closet to see how I approached life, I thought–“Houston!  We have a PROBLEM!”  “Now you are getting wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to personal”. I thought about taking a picture of my closet for this post, but I seriously am not brave enough! This morning I have a sentimental hangover, and I’m resisting rummaging through the trash can.  I’m not kidding. I need to move on to the next step.

6. Brene’ Brown talks about our need to “numb” either with alcohol, food, gossip, social media, internet, work, etc…  She points out in her book The Gifts of Imperfection that when we “numb” ourselves due to painful life experiences, stress, or discomfort, we think we can isolate the negative and forget. Yet, in our pursuit of numbing the negative, we also numb the joy, connecting with others, and experiencing life.  I love Brene’ Brown and never knew that she experienced problems with numbing.  She confessed a daily pursuit of being authentic, embracing life, and refusing to numb.  She goes on to share the importance of leaning into life, not escaping it.  After eating a plate of German food at a local amusement park, I sat on a park bench reading this book on my Kindle App while my girls were riding a roller coaster.  I just did not think the German potato salad could handle the ride.  I prayed on that park bench for God to help me experience life–to be courageous to handle the hard, and to engage.  I prayed for time and energy, and freedom of mind to pursue things like exercise, reflection, letting go, naps, and stillness. Awareness, according to Brene’ Brown, is a critical first step.  A journey of a thousand miles is that first step, but remember you have a thousand more. Go beyond awareness to action–the next step, and reach out to a trusted person to hold you accountable.  Answer these questions together!

  1. What makes you engage in numbing?
  2. What do you use to numb?
  3. How do you personally engage in numbing?  (from Brene’ Brown’s Book)

7. Lastly, God wrapped this continuous work up in a beautiful bow!  As I listened to a sermon on grace, I was reminded from the teaching of Paul, “Nothing separates us from the love of Jesus.”  His grace is sufficient.  No matter how messy, disorganized, or scattered I may feel right now, God loves me.  His love is sufficient.  My imperfections have been covered by His love.

I’ll leave you with this message from Greg’s book:

The Highest Point of Contribution

Grace Home Ministries

If you read my previous post, you’ll remember my joy at finding my old Bible–Blueprint for Living.  The following paragraph was written at that time by Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade For Christ International, in the section called, “An Invitation to Abundant Living”

Christ engages in the hearts of His people.  He revolutionizes lives and, as His people are revolutionized in sufficient numbers, the world will be revolutionized–the world will be changed. Problems in the lives of individuals will be solved as He is given control.  Problems in the political, social, economic, and religious realms will be solved as He is made master in each area.

Grace Home Ministries is revolutionizing the world one person at a time.  As a school social worker I am faced with teen pregnancy, and they have shown up, supported, and creatively met the needs of students that I serve.  Nothing has been too hard or too complicated for them.  In the moment that a client may feel all is lost, they step in and offer hope, healing, and a future story.

Please support them through prayer, finances, volunteering, and by utilizing their services if you need them.  They stand ready to help.  Their strong mentor program is vital.  You can learn more about mentoring and volunteering.  Their services are confidential and will support you in your time of need as a pregnant woman, or man struggling with the news you are going to be a father.

The informational video below will give you a snapshot of the founder’s mission and personal story as well as the services they offer. I personally know the founder, Julie Carden, and she is a determined woman of God filled with the grace and beauty of Jesus’ love for us.  She is available to speak at any organization to share more about Grace Home Ministries, and she offers her testimony to celebrate how God revolutionized her life so she can serve others.

Rose of Sharon

A blog post from Louise Lloyd, my mother.  My mother and father have been living in the “Rose of Sharon” home with us for about nine years.  Her Rose of Sharon trees are blooming!

grandmaandpapa

Tom and Louise Lloyd, married 58 years this August 13, 2015

Every morning in my quiet time, God has a bouquet of fresh flowers for me to enjoy. This morning God gave me many thoughts about my love for the Rose of Sharon.

The Rose of Sharon blooms only live 24 hours. In the morning when  the sun comes up they open and greet the day with a full bloom. This is an awesome, good morning, if you have eyes to see and ears to hear the call of God. You receive them with open arms– a fresh bouquet.

Every morning, as the afternoon slowly pass into the night, so does the flower. It falls to the ground and another bud starts its life to bring me a fresh bouquet. In this time many impressions speak to my heart.   God,  thank you for your beauty. I remember when it made me happy to plant at least fifteen of these little trees around our home. I call this the home of Rose of Sharon.

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Remembering how I was told the original tree came from our Grand mamma Hankins, all my siblings have a Rose of Sharon in their yard. Just recently we visited the private graveside (on a farm ) where our brother was buried many years ago before I was born. My sister, Mary, wanted a stone on his grave. We all got together and got a marker. When the stone was placed we took a Rose of Sharon and planted it.

I remember Mary singing “When the roll is called up yonder, I will be there!” Eugene said I told him it would be standing on our next visit to help us locate the grave site.  It had been about 8 years since we planted the tree and there it was standing up above all the overgrown underbrush. Blooming. That was a good moment!

I was reminded of choices and intentional planning. Yes, God I get it! You were with me directing me about eight years ago–generational beauty  to pass on.  I get a fresh bouquet every morning in 2015. Thank you Jesus.

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I have a friend I gave a tree to and she planted it in a pot and it sits on her deck. She texts me often telling me how many booms she has each morning!   Her own bouquet from God.

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.  Song of Solomon 2:1

Flannel Boards, Butter Cookies on Fingers, and Dixie Cups

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.  Matthew 14:28, 29 NIV

As a little girl growing up with flannel boards,

flower, butter cookies, and juice in a Dixie cup,

I remember putting them on my fingers, too!

I can still feel, see, smell, remember my Jesus times at church. My growing up years as a preschooler and child were in the late 60s and 70s.  The 70s brought a movement from the younger generation of God’s love.  I still have my Blueprint for Living Bible and treasured my time reading about God’s love for me.

BlueprintForLiving

Writings inside of the Bible from when I was a young adolescent girl and young adult are treasured.

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The pictures in the Bible are “just so 70s”, but God’s Word has not changed. I’ve been struggling spiritually with how the world around me views Jesus. I find the days of being so excited to tell about Jesus as a little girl has changed.  At work, family functions, school, and social circles it’s questionable to say His name, and for some, could be offensive.

In fact, our family was watching a stand up comedian, who typically presents a routine that families can watch, make fun of this scenario.  He jokingly laughed about how to make a conversation awkward at work or with your friends, just ask them, “Do they know Jesus?” He then went down the road of making fun of Christians.  I asked my girls to cut it off, and I began to weep in my soul.  That night as I listened to Joyce Meyer’s podcast, she exclaimed that Jesus is not modern, and we need to stop thinking of Him as someone who changes with the times.  We can’t fit Jesus into our culture and rationalize, Jesus never changes.  His Word is truth. Ageless.  Timeless.  The beginning and the end.

After raising one teenager who is now 26 years old and continuing to raise little girls in a changing culture, I’m baffled by the “modern Jesus” we’ve created.  I love Jesus and believe His Word is infallible, but I find myself, like Peter, asking, “Lord, if it’s You,”….

Peter knew in his soul it was Jesus.

I know Jesus, but in today’s culture and the pressures of the world (yes adults can experience peer pressure) I find myself asking…IF…it’s You what about ___________.

The teenagers in my sphere of influence struggle with offending and find it difficult to share the love of Jesus. It’s like it’s this thing we only do if all the conditions are right (a structured mission trip), and we know for sure we would not offend someone, or get in trouble.  My oldest daughter’s generation certainly struggled with peer pressure, but they did not struggle with their voice. Their voice was strong and confident about Jesus.

I’ve wanted to write on this topic for some time now but did not have the courage. What gave me the courage was a meeting I attended yesterday at work.  The meeting is a professional development opportunity provided by my county to improve the presenting and speaking skills of employees.  I joined a few months ago. With my children off for the summer, I decided to bring my eleven year old to work with me.  I knew that folks would be giving speeches for their work towards receiving a certification.

I was deeply moved by the first speaker who talked about five questions of the heart. She reminded us that we were created in His image for a purpose, and when we know our purpose we encounter success.  The second speaker’s title related to the word of the day “power”.  Her title?

“There is Power in the Name of Jesus”.

What?! Did you say the name Jesus at work? She went on to share her moving, personal story of calling on the name of Jesus during a difficult time as an adolescent, and how Jesus brought her through–showed her His power when she gave Him the control as a pregnant teenager.  She held up her son’s picture.  Years later she reflected on the power of Jesus, and how even today, she believes that there is power in the name of Jesus.

God provided a meeting, my daughter to hear the name of Jesus in a public, secular setting, encouragement to believe, trust, and the courage to hold tight to Jesus. I saw the speaker in the parking lot (God ordained), and we had a powerful heart-to-heart.

Jesus answered Peter.  He answers us still today using one simple word

“Come,” He said.

As the world embraces simplicity, I desire to go back to the days of Bible in lap, butter, flower cookies on my fingers, flannel boards, and Truth.  I grow tired of the pressure to entertain and make Jesus modern so folks will come.  Truth and His love are enough. In fact, many of the great missionaries and Christian leaders we read about grew up in this simplicity and truth.

I’m reading a book called, “Truth Matters” with my girls.  I bought it months ago, but today picked it up (God’s timing).  The authors boldly challenge the culture and bring us back to truth.  They acknowledge how hard it is to stand up to the culture who makes fun of, criticizes, or condemns the Bible, especially college students sitting under a professor who challenges them, or condemns their belief with “evidence”.

The verse I shared with you today is from a card my mother gave me,

My dear daughter,

God will give you everything you need to do everything He has called you to do.  You are in His hands and in His will, and there is no better place to be.

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:29

Jesus, I’m walking on water, and I desire to come toward You.  Amen

JESUSplaque

When I was a little girl this JESUS plaque was on a business sized card. I carried it around with me, fascinated how you had to make an effort to focus on the word to see the name JESUS. Turn your eyes toward Jesus. Focus on Him. Thank you Melinda.

Fruit Pizza

After a trip to Carter Mountain….

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My daughter Vivian asked if we could make a fruit pizza.  This is a pretty popular dish, but we had to combine recipes in order to create our pizza, and we were a tad bit innovative.

If you Google Fruit Pizza you will see many options and ideas.

Typically you use 1 roll of sugar cookie dough, or 2 rolls of crescent rolls flattened for the pizza dough.  We used  two Pillsbury pastry sheets instead. We were in the middle of apple pie baking and that’s all we had!

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We flattened the two pastry sheets out into a 9 by 12 pizza stone, sprinkled with sugar, and baked for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  I kept an eye on it and took it out when the dough was a golden brown.  Let the dough cool completely.  Once it’s cooled, you blend together the three items below using a mixer, and add this for the pizza sauce. You literally spread this mixture over the cooled, cooked dough.

1
package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3
cup sugar
1/2
teaspoon vanilla
The next step is your freedom of expression moment and love for fruit.  You can use any fruit that makes you happy, and you can create your own design.  My girls love mandarin oranges, apples, raspberries, and strawberries.  Many of the recipes have bananas and kiwi, too.  Use what you have, and eat what you love!  Make it yours.
I’m embarrassed to say we ate the whole thing minus one serving.  It’s that good!
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