Gov. Nixon announces federal grant to help Will's Place in Joplin expand its services throughout four-state region for children, youth impacted by trauma | Governor Jay Nixon

Gov. Nixon announces federal grant to help Will's Place in Joplin expand its services throughout four-state region for children, youth impacted by trauma

September 24, 2012
Joplin, MO

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Gov. Nixon announces federal grant to help Will's Place in Joplin

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced a federal grant to help the Ozark Center's Will's Place expand the scope of its services for helping children and youth impacted by trauma. The Governor made the announcement at the child trauma treatment center, which opened in January. Will's Place is named after Will Norton, who died in the May 2011 tornado after just graduating from Joplin High School.

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Gov. Jay Nixon today announced a federal grant to help the Ozark Center's Will's Place expand the scope of its services for helping children and youth impacted by trauma. The Governor made the announcement at the child trauma treatment center, which opened in January. Will's Place is named after Will Norton, who died in the May 2011 tornado after just graduating from Joplin High School.

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced a federal grant to help the Ozark Center's Will's Place expand the scope of its services for helping children and youth impacted by trauma. The Governor made the announcement at the child trauma treatment center, which opened in January. Will's Place is named after Will Norton, who died in the May 2011 tornado after just graduating from Joplin High School.

Will's Place will receive a grant of $400,000 annually for the next four years through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant will enable the center to be a Category III Community Treatment and Services Center of Excellence that will serve not only Jasper County, but a regional four-state area that includes Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Governor was joined today by representatives of the Ozark Center and other mental health professionals from the Joplin area; by Missouri Department of Mental Health Director Dr. Keith Schafer; by Capt. Jose Belardo, Regional Health Administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and by Mark and Trish Norton, parents of Will Norton.

"When I was here in January for the opening of Will's Place, we knew this center would provide needed treatment and services for young people locally who were affected by trauma, especially by the tornado," Gov. Nixon said. "This grant will help the staff here provide that same top-notch level of care to children and youth throughout this region. The expansion of this center's mission to become a nationally recognized center of excellence in the field of child trauma speaks volumes about the good work that has been accomplished at Will's Place in a short amount of time."

In July 2011, Gov. Nixon announced that the state of Missouri was allocating $2 million to help establish Will's Place. The center has been made possible by a partnership between the Ozark Center, a part of Freeman Health System; St. John's Mercy; the Joplin Public Schools; the Department of Mental Health; the Children's Center of Southwest Missouri; and the Missouri Institute for Mental Health.

The federal grant will help the center:

  • Improve treatment and services for children and youth who have experienced traumatic events in Jasper County;
  • Increase outreach and access through partnerships with other community agencies to identify children and youth in need of trauma treatment and services;
  • Increase understanding of the impact trauma plays in the lives of children and youth; and
  • Extend the principles of a trauma-informed approach to service delivery agencies across the regional four-state area.

As part of the grant, Will's Place will collaborate with other National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative program grant recipients to share in the development, dissemination and evaluations of the various activities and products across the country.