The Importance of Numbers in the Story of Hope and Healing
Kelly Green is the Associate Director of The Knowledge Center at Chaddock. Kelly is a mom to 5 amazing kids and in her free time she enjoys leading the children’s and women’s ministries at the church that her husband pastors. Kelly also enjoys cooking for others, trying new restaurants with her husband, watching her youngest son play sports, and of course, hanging out with her most excellent grand kids.
I started at Chaddock 23 years ago and over the years have worked in several departments/capacities. I currently serve as Associate Director for The Knowledge Center at Chaddock (TKC). Our mission at TKC is to build the capacity of human service, education, and nonprofit professionals through training, consultation, publications and research. At TKC many people know that we provide trainings to others in the mental health, education and non-profit worlds, but I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about our lesser-known work, the research and publication arm of TKC.
At Chaddock, we make it a focus to “measure what matters,” and I get to play a role in that as part of my duties at TKC. Chaddock’s mission, “a world where every person matters, relationships are valued, and healing and change are possible,” is one that I love. However, trying to measure healing and improvements in relationships can be a daunting task, but at Chaddock we’ve never been intimidated by doing the hard work.
Through our Developmental Trauma and Attachment Program we know that our kids, families and staff work extremely hard on healing the trauma and attachment disruptions that have impacted their lives, but for me it was important that we try and quantify this for them as well. One of the ways we do this is through the use of clinical assessment measures and questionnaires that we have both parents and the child do at the beginning, middle and end of treatment at Chaddock. Working together with our staff, children and their families use these assessment measures to discover their strengths, areas of treatment focus, develop and evaluate goals and see improvement and change over the course of the treatment.
When your life has been impacted by trauma and relational challenges, it’s sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees, and often parents have lost hope that things will change when they place their child at Chaddock. Likewise, some of our youth have given up on this hope as well. It’s so refreshing to me when I hear from a therapist that a youth or parent cries “happy tears” when they show them how their assessment scores have improved in an area they’ve let the walls down in and they’ve been working hard in, areas that were of great concern to their parents and them before coming to Chaddock. This evidence helps them to see that things are getting better and this can fuel them to trust more and to keep working hard. It blows my mind sometimes when we see such significant improvements from placement to discharge in a parent’s attachment relationship with their child, including decreases in levels of frustration and increases in their overall confidence as a parent too. This in turn restores hope and shows that healing is possible to families.
As a Christian, God tells us to have faith and believe, which I do, but I also identify with both doubting Thomas who needed to see the scars in Jesus’ hands in order to believe and also the man who told Jesus, “I believe, but help my unbelief.” I’ve always been one that wants to see the evidence behind things or wants to figure it out and get to the root of things. There are parents, kids and youth that need to have a reassurance too before making the big leap of faith to put in the hard work of healing their relationships and to even consider there is still hope and healing available to them. I’d like to think by showing them the evidence it can instill hope for them as well. This is also why I see so much value in Chaddock’s assessment process.
It’s amazing that we’ve been able to not only use individual data, but that we can then take the collective data (or evidence of numerous families) and tell the story to others via books, podcasts and journal articles, providing insight on a programmatic level about the amazing things that happen at Chaddock through our Developmental Trauma and Attachment program.