HELENA — There is a new place to help heal in the Capital City. A ribbon-cutting for YWCA’s Caterpillars Clubhouse was held Tuesday. The facility is designed to offer therapeutic childcare for children that have experienced trauma.
“We were beginning to see a lot of women at the YWCA through our WINGS services and addiction recovery services, come in with kiddos, but because the state doesn’t have Pre-K, there was no formal intervention services for those kiddos," YWCA Executive Director Jenifer Gursky told MTN. "All of them have about three ACE scores, which are adverse childhood experiences, before the age of five. So why, it’s important is we can bring on-site therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, we can have play therapy and child mental health therapists online right here on site."
Just across the street from the YWCA in Helena, The Clubhouse will serve these children whose families live at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line - and who have experienced out-of-home placement in the foster care system. Twenty-one children between the ages of six weeks to five years will be admitted on a referral process through various mental health providers and physicians.
“We think it’s really important to help kiddos in that age range, 0-5, when their brains are still elastic and they can gain residency rather than working with them when they are 20, 25 or 30," said Gursky. "So the Caterpillar’s Clubhouse is all about early intervention, so those kiddos can truly have brighter futures and it’s not just lip service.”