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In The News

Sheri Carter head shot.jpeg

September 21, 2021












You’re Invited: Stronger Together in Payne County, Crisis Intervention Summit

Payne County activated a Mobile Crisis Team earlier this year because of the calls emergency responders were seeing related to mental health crises. Often, these are suicide calls. The Mobile Crisis Team is a coordinated and comprehensive team that can respond in addition to or in place of law enforcement.


Resilient Payne County is hosting a Crisis Intervention Summit Sept. 28 to bring the community together to focus on mental health needs in Payne County.


A new national behavioral health crisis line will go into effect July 2022, allowing anyone in crisis to call 988 for help. Oklahoma and Payne County are preparing for when the number goes live. At the upcoming Summit, Nisha Wilson, chief clinical strategy officer with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will share about a three-step response process. It includes ensuring someone is available to talk (Call Center), someone can respond (Mobile Crisis Team) and that those in crisis have somewhere to go (Urgent Recovery and Crisis Centers).


We have a great community with a lot of expertise. In addition to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services, speakers at the Summit will include the Stillwater Police Department Crisis Intervention Team and Grand Lake Mental Health Center.


Community partnerships are key to a successful community crisis intervention program. All members of a community such as educators, first responders, social workers and mental health providers must be working together to improve the way a community responds to a mental health crisis.


Crisis intervention programs are built on strong partnerships between all agencies, health providers, community leaders and families and individuals affected by mental illness.


Each professional plays a critical role in the lives of citizens in a community. Many assist children and parents in developing critical thinking skills and facilitating social emotional development. Professionals such as educators and social work professionals are in positions to notice emotional and behavioral changes early, and they can benefit from being aware of how a community is addressing mental health issues.


The Summit is being offered at no cost, and is geared for educators, health care workers, parents, teachers, mental health professionals and anyone interested in helping Payne County residents become more resilient. We want to help children and families avoid situations that could put them at higher risk for adverse childhood experiences.


CEUs will be available for educators, including early childhood professional development, as well as licensed social workers. The event takes place at Meridian Technology Center in the Fred Shultz Conference Center from 4-6 p.m.


To use the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences have an impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. If we work together to bring resources together in our community, we can create a place where every child can thrive.


ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood, and could include things like violence, abuse, neglect or growing up in a home with substance use or mental health problems.


About Resilient Payne County

The work of RPC is focused in four areas: Educate the public and community about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices in their work. Engage citizens and organizations to join RPC in a system of change to develop a trauma-sensitive culture and increase capacity to build a resilient county. Collaborate with citizens and organizations to create partnerships with county agencies to commit to trauma-informed and resilience-building practices. Build a sustainable and strong non-profit organization that creates a compassionate and resilient community where children and families thrive.


Sheri Carter is president of Resilient Payne County, an organization of volunteers who bring their energy and expertise together to empower change to become a trauma-sensitive, resilient county.


Payne County receives grant for Infant Toddler Court program


   Resilient Payne County has received funding to create an Infant Toddler Court in Payne County to help improve the health, safety, well-being and development of infants, toddlers and families involved in the child welfare system.

The local organization, which advocates for reducing the impact of trauma on children, received a capacity building grant as a part of a national effort to improve outcomes for families in the child welfare system and dramatically reduce the number of babies and toddlers removed from their families.

   Trauma is something that creates ripples in a family, affecting generation after generation.

For the best results, both children and their parents have to be considered.

The ITCP program includes trauma-informed, evidence-based early intervention for both parents and children. It helps address the parents’ past trauma and meet their immediate needs as a way of supporting the parent-child relationship and improving the child’s well-being.

   The program was developed by Zero To Three, a non-partisan organization that says it provides a research-based voice to educate the public and political leaders about the unique developmental needs of babies and toddlers.

   “Our brains grow faster between the ages of 0 and 3 than at any later point in our lives, forming more than one million new neural connections every second,” Zero To Three Chief Policy Officer Myra Jones Taylor wrote in a 2019 column for the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “When babies have nurturing relationships, early learning experiences, and good health and nutrition, these neural connections are stimulated and strengthened, laying a strong foundation for success in school and the workforce. Unfortunately, too many babies aren’t getting what they need, forming shaky foundations from which to grow.”

   The Infant Toddler Court program is a partnership with organizations like the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; The Center for the Study of Social Policy and The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

   It’s a shift away from business as usual and toward improvement, Resilient Payne County board member Carolynn Macallister said in a statement announcing the new program.

   Payne County’s Infant Toddler Court Program leadership team includes Special District Judge Michael Kulling, Child Welfare District 9 Director Justin Hoenshell, Payne County Assistant District Attorney Brenda Nipp and Executive Director for Payne County CASA, Angela Parsons.

   Kulling’s support was essential for receiving the grant, which is very competitive, Macallister said. And Hoenshell has said he believes the model and its elements are a good fit for our community.

   The interdisciplinary team that provides direct services will be led by Victoria Carney-Peters, Community Coordinator for Payne County’s Infant Toddler Court.

   “I am extremely passionate about ITCP,” Carney-Peters said. “I truly hope that it not only brings families back together but that it changes our community to better serve infants and toddlers. I am honored to serve in this role and excited to see how it positively impacts the lives for families in Payne County.”

   Community resources are a critical component of the Payne County program.

   The community team for the Infant Toddler Court Program includes agencies like Payne County United Way, Wings of Hope and the Saville Center for Child Advocacy, early childhood systems like Healthy Steps and Head Start and healthcare providers like Grand Lakes Mental Health Center and Stillwater Medical Center.

   The City of Stillwater, Payne County Health Department, representatives from the Oklahoma State University College of Education and Human Sciences and the Department of Clinical Psychology and local policy makers are also part of the effort.

   “PCITCP has a committed and talented community team that will work diligently to improve lives of very young children in foster care or children at risk of removal and their families by making systems improvements with practice and policy changes,” Macallister wrote.

   More importantly, the team will advocate for supportive community services that could help prevent maltreatment in the first place and keep families from becoming involved with the child welfare system, she noted.

View the story on the Stillwater News Press at https://www.stwnewspress.com/news/payne-county-receives-grant-for-infant-toddler-court-program/article_6ebecf9c-b389-11eb-89e7-c30e7c1a17e4.html


Carolynn Macallister honored by OSDH for child abuse prevention​


   The Oklahoma State Department of Health is honoring Carolynn Macallister of Stillwater for outstanding commitment, dedication and leadership in child abuse prevention.

   Macallister received the Mary Ellen Wilson Award from OSDH, one of seven awards presented for child abuse prevention by the state agency.

   Macallister was a founder and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for Resilient Payne County, an organization she championed as a coalition to raise awareness of how Adverse Childhood Experiences can damage the mental and emotional development and physical health of children.

   ODH cited her work with Resilient Payne County, saying she led the statewide trauma movement and led Stillwater to be the first Oklahoma community to identify challenges relating to childhood trauma and to recruit a team of multi-disciplinary professionals and community leaders.

   Resilient Payne county is also working to develop systems in the community to mitigate the potentially lifelong impact of ACES.

   Years before founding Resilient Payne County, Macallister was instrumental in forming the Saville Center for Child Advocacy.

   She is one of 30 applicants recently selected for the ACE Interface Master Trainer program through the Potts Family Foundation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy Kids Healthy Families Program.

   As a master trainer Macallister will make presentations on ACES and resilience science across the state and will receive ongoing support through the network of Raising Resilient Oklahomans Self-Healing Communities.

   Anyone interested in bringing a presentation to their community or organization should contact Linda Manaugh at lamanaugh@pottsfamilyfoundation.org.

   The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the awards are presented this year. Instead of holding an award ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol, the department hosted a series of smaller presentation ceremonies.

   “Congratulations to this year’s child abuse prevention award winners for their significant and outstanding work in preventing child maltreatment,” State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said. “Their efforts are helping improve the quality of life for Oklahoma’s children most at risk for neglect and abuse and strengthening the health and well-being of Oklahoma’s communities.”

The full list of honorees is as follows:

  • Mark Lawson – Outstanding Elected Official Award

  • Emma Shandor – Outstanding Home Visitor Award

  • Parent Promise – Outstanding Child Abuse Prevention Program (tie)

  • Children First – Outstanding Child Abuse Prevention Program (tie)

  • Carolynn Macallister – Mary Ellen Wilson Award

  • Sally Eichling – Julie L. Bonner Nurse Award

  • Barbara Bonner, PhD – Marion Jacewitz Award

View the story on the Stillwater News Press at https://www.stwnewspress.com/news/payne-county-receives-grant-for-infant-toddler-court-program/article_6ebecf9c-b389-11eb-89e7-c30e7c1a17e4.html

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