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Trauma Disproportionately Affects Michigan Kids, Forum Set To Discuss

(WWJ) Younger children are under more stress than ever -- experiencing at least one traumatic event before the age of five, according to research.

And now young people and their parents in metro Detroit have another resource where they can seek help: Starfish Family Services, a 54-year-old, Inkster-based, social services agency is switching direction to offer parenting resources, children's mental health services, Head Start programs and an emergency youth shelter.

It helps more than 10,000 families a year, per

Ann Kaylass of Starfish Family Services in Inkster says parents and other adult leaders need to help kids understand what's happening in a healthy way.

"The capacity of some of our parents to find the time and the space and a good mental place for themself to connect with their children is limited," she said.

Kaylass says childhood trauma can lead to long-term health issues including diabetes and heart disease. Repeated exposure to rage, fighting, abuse of alcohol and drugs can cause stress that causes longterm health problems, Kaylass detailed.

Michigan children are among the most at-risk, studies show. Michigan is among states with the highest percentage of children who have had two or more adverse childhood experiences, according to the National Survey of Children's Health.

To battle the trend,  an event titled "Building Resilient Communities Forum 2017," hosted by Starfish Family Services is being help this morning to raise awareness about the impact of childhood trauma and toxic stress on the health of Michigan children, families and communities.

National expert Dr. Bruce D. Perry, psychiatrist and senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, will address nearly 200 Michigan early childhood professionals and other stakeholders about building trauma-informed communities during the forum at The Inn at St. John's, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth.

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