Beginning in 2016, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) began a multi-year partnership with the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago with the goal of bringing social-emotional learning, development, and trauma-informed care to the GCNWI GirlSpace program. CCR’s partnership with the Girl Scout of GCNWI is focused on providing training, consultation and supported implementation to GirlSpace leaders to further optimize girls’ mental wellness through social-emotional development and trauma-informed education. Outcomes from this partnership, supported by research, have the potential to impact the broader Girl Scout community as well as a wide-range o advocacy and policy reform initiatives.

In March, CCR received the 2019 Own Award presented by the Girl Scouts which recognizes organizations and individuals who have made the world a better place by advancing opportunities for girls and women.


The “You Are Not Alone” Project began in January 2017, in response to public health concerns about the mental health and well-being of marginalized youth experiencing increased distress in the current sociopolitical climate. For refugee/immigrant children, fear of being forcibly separated from family through deportation is heightened. The threat of separation from family, or of the return to life threatening circumstances, generates a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Youth of color and LGBTQ youth are frightened that civil rights and broader social acceptance that has been advancing in recent years are at risk. Children of same-gender couples also fear the dissolution of their parents’ marriage and subsequent loss of guardianship. These fears increase a sense of isolation and hopelessness. As a result, community counseling centers have been overwhelmed with the volume of calls for support, and schools are reporting instances of hate speech, racist vandalism and bullying. 

In response, the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) staff and collaborators have hosted training events and webinars, training over 1,200 educators, community providers, community navigators, mental health providers, pediatric providers and families to help them recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of distress and crisis for refugee and immigrant children and families impacted by the sociopolitical climate.  


In 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched Healthy Chicago 2.0, a plan focused on ensuring a city with strong communities and collaborative stakeholders, where all residents enjoy equitable access to resources, opportunities and environments that maximize their health and well-being. Healthy Chicago 2.0 serves as the start for a new movement dedicated to improving health equity and making Chicago a connected, vibrant and healthy city for all residents. CCR collaborates with CDPH for Healthy Chicago 2.0 aimed at improving the health and well-being of Chicago’s youth disproportionately impacted by violence and trauma, and building a trauma-informed Chicago. 

Trauma-informed is grounded in service delivery, and directed by a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychological and social effects of trauma and violence on humans and groups. Functioning as a trauma-informed city requires significant changes in attitude, knowledge and practice, with all of our city agencies and community- based organizations becoming trained in the impact that trauma has on our residents. A trauma-informed city utilizes this knowledge to develop policies and system improvements that ensure effective responses to recovery from trauma and to prevent individuals from being re- traumatized by individuals, schools, churches, organizations and government agencies with which they interact. 

Healthy Chicago 2.0’s development and its eventual success are guided by four key principles:

  • Healthy Chicago 2.0 prioritizes Health Equity, ensuring that the 200 action steps focus on neighborhoods and communities that face the greatest health disparities, so limited resources are allocated to the areas where they are needed most.
  • Healthy Chicago 2.0 is a Collaborative Effort, providing action steps for not just CDPH but for other government agencies and community partners to work together and to improve health equity for every resident. Hundreds of community partners– representing health care providers, government agencies, social service providers, advocates, academic institutions, businesses, faith-based organizations, and residents – reviewed public health data and agreed upon over 200 coordinated strategies to promote health equity.
  • Healthy Chicago 2.0 addresses the Social Determinants of Health, in addition to traditional health outcomes. Understanding that health is impacted by a number of factors, including economic opportunity, education and public infrastructure, Healthy Chicago 2.0 provides action steps to address these underlying issues.
  • Healthy Chicago 2.0 leverages Data and Surveillance by making sure each goal and action step are measurable. Leveraging the annual Healthy Chicago resident survey and the Chicago Health Atlas, we will  measure and share progress on an annual basis and make adjustments in the plan’s implementation to ensure its greatest efficacy.




The Center for Childhood Resilience has been engaged in workforce development, consulting, and evaluating the effectiveness of delivering mental health services through a public health model for school-community collaboration with CPS for over eight years. While leading the way in refining and implementing this model over the past decade, CCR has emphasized the need for embedding evidence-based practices within the MTSS framework. 

Many students with mental health needs receive services through school-based intervention. This reality has made schools the de facto mental health provider for children.  Consistent with the recommendations of the School Discipline Consensus Report (Morgan, Salomon, Plotkin, & Cohen, 2014), CCR partnered with Chicago Public Schools in building Behavioral Health Teams: a school-based group of multi-disciplinary school staff that address the needs of at-risk students, including coordinating services, developing a system of accountability, building on and maximizing existing resources, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. CCR has served as national trainers for these evidence-based treatments, training hundreds of CPS support staff in Anger Coping ,Think First (anger management), Bounce Back and CBITS. CCR has also brought a trauma lens to the district, aiding in making them a leader in trauma-informed education. 



In 2015, CCR began working with the Champaign Unit 4 School District. This work included Tier II support in CBITS implementation. CCR staff trained all school clinicians on CBITS, completing 13 CBITS groups were facilitated by Unit 4 clinicians, and serving approximately 45 students were served by this intervention. The district was also provided with resources and supported implementation throughout the year.

In 2016-2017, Tier II support included training approximately 20 school clinicians on Bounce Back, with groups being implemented at 12 schools reaching approximately 60 students. Bounce Back (BB) trained social workers received in-person BB Supported Implementation sessions, monthly Supported Implementation calls, and weekly correspondence from CCR trainers. Tier I supports included training on the impact of trauma for all Unit 4 administrators and district leaders. In addition, a Trauma Training Cadre of 8 Champaign staff (social workers, psychologists, administrators, etc.) was trained and certified to disseminate trauma presentations throughout the district. 



CCR launched a partnership with Hinsdale South High School during the 2016-2017 academic year, with the broad goal of helping Hinsdale South respond to the needs of a diverse student body by working to integrate trauma sensitive policies and practices.  CCR launched this initiative with a baseline assessment of the Hinsdale South staff using the Attitudes Regarding Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) tool, followed by a 3-part introductory trauma training series to the entire staff (three 60-minute sessions).

During the 2017-2018 academic year, our work with Hinsdale South focused on:

1.    Creation of a trauma-informed care workgroup that met regularly to spearhead this work.

2.    Ongoing strategic planning and consultation to help integrate trauma-informed practices throughout the whole building, leveraging existing resources, teams, and leaders.

3.    Consultation on how to engage youth and families and integrate their perspectives into the work.

4.    Review of policies including crisis policies, re-entry procedures, and discipline policies to ensure consistency with trauma-informed principles.

5.    Ongoing monitoring of data and outcomes, including use of the Environmental Scan observational tool and ARTIC staff survey.

6.    More intensive coaching of small groups of staff that allowed greater opportunities for shared learning, discussion, and case consultation to help staff deepen their understanding of trauma-informed principals and translate knowledge into practice within the classroom and school.

7.    Introduction of trauma screening tools for school-based mental health professionals so that trauma is identified and service planning takes this exposure into account.

8.    Training and implementation support for a trauma-specific evidence-based group intervention: Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS).