Our Immediate Response (IR) team is the City of Richmond’s only program devoted to the needs of children exposed to trauma or experiencing a mental health crisis. Most of the children who participate have witnessed or experienced violence. The Richmond Police Department, Richmond Ambulance Authority, and other community agencies contact us to provide immediate mental health services. Children must be between the ages of 2-17 and have experienced a recent traumatic event. IR is prevention focused. The program strives to reduce the effects of violence on children through:
- 24/7 Immediate Response
First, the Police, Ambulance Authority, or community member contacts the IR team. Next, an IR clinician travels to the scene of trauma. The clinician assists children and families. They assess the emotional and physical safety from the perspective of the child. Finally, clinicians attend to the emotional needs of children at the scene. They engage them in soothing activities.
- 24-Hour Follow-up
After responding, the clinician schedules a follow-up with the family. Typically the clinician visits within 24 hours. During the visit, the clinician reassesses the child. Next, the clinician educates parents about trauma and mental health. Lastly, the clinician schedules counseling. Families are contacted for follow-up within 24 hours.
- Follow-up Counseling Services
For 30 days, children are evaluated and connected to ongoing services. These services may be through ChildSavers or community partners. A child may receive therapy from ChildSavers outpatient Mental Health Services. This care focuses on establishing safety, developing emotional regulation skills, identifying resources, and enhancing resiliency.