The Kellin Foundation, the Greensboro Police Department and a host of other area agencies plan to get together this week to “formally recommit” to being partners in the Greensboro Child Response Initiative (CRI) – a community program that works to help children and families that are exposed to violence.

Representatives of a large number of groups working for the initiative will attend a “celebratory memorandum of agreement signing ceremony” that will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Guilford County Department of Social Services Community Room at 1203 Maple St. in Greensboro.

Since it began helping area kids about 12 years ago, the Child Response Initiative has worked with more than 20,000 children, families and adults who were affected by violent or traumatic experiences.

Dwight Crotts, a retired City of Greensboro deputy police chief who sits on the Kellin Foundation’s Board of Directors, has worked closely with the initiative for over a decade. He said the program provides help where and when it’s needed the most.

“The Child Response Initiative is here to help when kids and families are in their darkest hour,” he stated in a press release this week. “We are proud of the work we have done to help children and adults heal.”

Founded in 2008, CRI works to provide “a coordinated community response to behavioral health needs for children, families, and often adults residing in Greensboro.”

The CRI partners all attempt to identify children and families who’ve experienced traumatic stress and provide them with support and services to help them heal.

CRI has supported children who’ve faced a wide range of situations such as family separation, domestic violence or sexual abuse, substance abuse and homelessness.

Sarah Roethlinger, the executive director of Youth Focus, one of the organizations that works with the initiative, said this type of service is vital.

“The Child Response Initiative is a crucial part of our community because it gives a safety net to child victims who otherwise may have not received any needed services,” she said. “Responding to a child and family who have experienced an event that caused psychological trauma is just as imperative as responding to a person with an open wound.”

Through the community partnership, Kellin Foundation child and family advocates work closely with law enforcement officers to provide early interventions and help families understand the natural reactions to trauma.

In addition, CRI works to educate members of the community about childhood traumatic stress and to build stronger relationships between law enforcement and the community.