By Lori Fredrich — Raising a child can be a difficult task.
But raising a child with significant behavior and emotional problems, including aggression, major temper tantrums, high non-compliance, hyperactivity, separation anxiety or self-abuse can be overwhelming.
This is particularly true for poverty-stricken families. Early identification and treatment of these challenging behaviors help prevent more serious issues from developing in and improve the families’ quality of life. That’s why Marquette University established the Behavior Clinic through a partnership with Penfield Children’s Center here in Milwaukee.
After all — we had the expertise. We were doing the research. Why not share our proven treatment strategies to help parents improve their young children’s mental health?
So, that’s what we did. Ten years ago, we established a clinic that now makes a huge difference in our community.
This year, we’re celebrating the little victories. For ten years, we’ve been bringing awareness to pediatric mental health and doing what we can to alleviate some of the issues local families are dealing with.
Ninety-five percent of the families who seek help at Penfield live at or below poverty level, and three-quarters of the parents are single mothers, many of whom have less than a high school education. Nearly 80 percent of the children at Penfield have been diagnosed with a developmental disability, and approximately 70 percent who are seen at the Behavior Clinic also meet the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis.
When the Behavior Clinic was established in 2003, the original goal was to run it as a one-year pilot project to gain information about its need, viability and success. During the inaugural year, the clinic served 23 families — enough to justify a second year. In its second year, the clinic served 58 families, with more than 350 clinical visits made to families’ homes. The clinic now routinely serves 100 children each year, including 1,000 in-home treatment sessions.
We are proud to Be the Difference — today more than ever.
Want to support the work of the Behavior Clinic? Visit PenfieldChildren.org
Now through August 31, 2013 all funds are matched with dollars from the Weiss Family Foundation.