Last week, the Healthcare Club partnered with the Service Board and the Mind Matters Club to have a bake sale to raise money for the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut (CGC). This fundraiser followed the CGC’s CEO, Dr. Jessica Welt, speaking to the Healthcare Club in October to discuss the role the CGC plays in our local community and the services it provides. The bake sale completely sold out and raised just under 300 dollars.
The Child Guidance Center was founded in 1954 with the intention of improving the mental and behavioral health of children and teens through treatment, education, and community support. To this day, the CGC has not only stayed true to its commitment to aiding individuals struggling with mental health, but it has also expanded its reach. Now, CGC has five offices and nearly 60 staff members of health professionals dedicated to assisting children and their families regardless of their ability to pay. They offer a broad range of mental health services to aid anyone from birth to age 18 in overcoming psychological, behavioral, developmental, social, and familial problems in accessible clinics, homes, and schools. They provide crisis services, specialized treatment services, prevention services, testing, and assessment.
One of the services the Child Guidance Center provides is their Gender Diversity and Resilience Program, which provides psychosocial and medical support for youth ages 12-18 who are transgender, nonbinary, or questioning the gender they were assigned at birth. In this program, the CGC provides therapy and gender-affirming medical care to meet teens and families where they are in their gender journey. They ensure teens feel safe and accepted, developing their identity in a positive way.
In terms of crisis services for children at high risk for injury, abuse, or trauma, the CGC provides Mobile Crisis Intervention Services to stabilize critical situations and prevent suicide, violence, and dangerous behaviors. The CGC has a branch called the Child Advocacy Center, which provides a child-friendly environment in which children who have experienced some form of abuse are interviewed for forensic purposes and connected with mental health, advocacy, and medical services. They also have a service called the Community Emergency Response, which offers on-site counseling for emergencies that impact large groups in the community, including natural disasters and school violence.
Aside from crisis services, the Child Guidance Center provides preventative services, such as community education workshops and consultation services to schools and child-serving agencies, to advance the best practices possible in the field of children’s mental health.
As the discussion around mental health is destigmatized, organizations like the CGC are essential to keep the conversation going. The Child Guidance Center provides valuable resources to children and families in our local community. You can click here to learn more about the CGC and how to get involved.