March 2019

March is Social Work Month--a perfect time to say congratulations to our intern Elsy! Elsy graduated from the UWM Helen Bader School of Social Welfare in December, and is continuing on with Kids Matter part-time. We are so fortunate. Elsy is a first generation college student and the first in her family get a Master's degree. She wants to become a school social worker because she loves working with children and sees the need for more Spanish-speaking social workers. Elsy is pictured with her husband, Jose, and daughters, Jocelyn and Isabella. We are so proud!

Please keep encouraging youth and watch the timelines included in the newsletter. Applications are due in March and April for many summer youth opportunities.

Susan Conwell, JD
Executive Director
The Importance of Suicide Prevention
Grandparents, relatives, volunteers... do you know how to help someone in crisis? Do you know how to listen to and talk with someone thinking about suicide?

Did you know that according to the Wisconsin 2017 Risk Youth Behavior Survey over 16% of public school students in Wisconsin reported that they considered suicide? It is important to reduce stigma, understand risk and protective factors and learn how to talk to youth and adults who are considering suicide. Kids Matter will hold suicide prevention training in June, but if you don't want to wait until then, attend QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Training with Community Advocates or PSGM this month. Additional local resources and national hotlines are provided in a resource guide at the end of the newsletter.

What is QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Training?
How do you approach a person who is showing signs that they are in crisis? You need to ask questions, persuade them to have a conversation, and refer them to professionals who can help. After this training you will be able to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and, proven suicide prevention techniques. This training is not recommended for people who recently lost a loved one to suicide. Kids Matter staff, Elena and Justine, attended a QPR Training with Jeremy Triblett of Community Advocates and highly recommend it, especially for learning how to ask the right questions.

QPR Training led by Jeremy Triblett and sponsored by City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention and Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. Register in advance here.
Date:  Wednesday, March 20, 9:00am-11:00am
Location: Timbers Building, 600 W. Virginia St. #502, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Date: Wednesday, March 13th, 1:00pm-2:30pm
Location: WCTC Pewaukee Campus, Business (B) building, Room B-117, 800 Main St, Pewaukee, WI 53072

PGSM is also offering events with Dr. Stacy Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, a nationally acclaimed author and expert on suicide. An evening conversation with Dr. Freedenthal , a free, community-oriented suicide prevention educational event, will be held from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm on Thursday, March 21st at the Medical College of Wisconsin Alumni Center, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee. Please register in advance here .
Suicide Risk in Native American Populations
Did you know the suicide rate for Native American/Alaskan Natives is much higher than for the overall U.S. population? According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center , strengthening protective factors may be more important than reducing risk factors. No matter where you come from, the most significant protective factors are effective mental health care, connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions, problem-solving skills, and contact with caregivers. But additional protective factors play an important role for Native American/Alaskan Native populations: cultural continuity and community, cultural identification, spirituality, and family connectedness.

If you are caring for a Native American child, Kids Matter has information on our website that will help you understand the importance of cultural connection, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and available resources. Check it out here.
Grandfamilies and the Fostering Healing Team
Our Fostering Healing Team consists of only a few social workers, therapists, and attorneys, but they help our families in so many ways! Check out some new initiatives ...
  • Kids Matter is starting a grandparent support group! The first group is filled up with grandparents who participated in an initial focus group, but if you're interested in participating in future support groups, let us know. We're aiming to start a support group specially for grandpa's/older male caregivers.
  • The Fostering Healing Team regularly presents at regional and national conferences. Last year, we presented at the WI Psychological Association Annual Conference and the Children Come First Conference. We are also planning on speaking at the WI Registrar in Probate Conference in May, and hosting a Roundtable Discussion about how family systems are changing in response to trauma and the opioid epidemic in Portland this June at the internationally recognized Generations United conference. Check out this short video that highlights relative caregivers and our Fostering Healing Team.
  • We're about to launch a Guardianship Decision Guide for families everywhere to use as a resource in deciding whether guardianship is the right choice. Stay tuned!
Honoring Lorry Schimelfenyg
Lorry Schimelfenyg - beloved nurse, wife, mother, and proud member of the Fosselyngen #82 Sons of Norway. She loved children and had a special place in her heart for youth aging out of foster care. She told her daughter, "If I won the lottery, I would want to help youth aging out of foster care."

We are so grateful to Lorry's children, family and friends who are honoring Lorry's wish for kids by giving foster youth the chance to heal and thrive through Kids Matter.
Summer Opportunities for Children and Teens
We want to make sure all kids can go to camp!

Holiday Home Camp on the shores of Lake Geneva is for rising 2nd-8th gr aders and offers a variety of activities. Pick-up and drop-off from Mitchell Park Domes Parking Lot!
Dates : Stay overnight for 5 nigh ts. June 14–19, June 22– 26, June 28–July 3, July 8–13, July 16-21, July 25–30, August 2–7.
Cost : Scholarship rates available to Kids Matter involved youth. Talk to the social worker, counselor or CASA volunteer coordinator working with your youth or family if you are interested in this option.

Royal Family Camp for Kids specializes in children with a history of kinship or foster care, or abuse or neglect. Royal Family is for children 7-11 years old and is located in Cudahy, near Milwaukee. Applications are not out yet (due in May last year) but we'll provide updates future newsletters. If you have a kid who may need more attention and care during a summer camp experience, this may be a good option for them!  

Jewish Community Center  offers one-week day camps for K5-8th grade. Check out the website for specific offerings --JCC has camps for sports lovers, creative artists, and adventurers! Let your CASA volunteer supervisor know if you think one of these offerings might be right for your CASA youth!
Encourage a teen to get a summer job!

Do you remember learning about FICA? Or saving your pennies for a special purchase? Having jobs helps teens gain independence and learn economic skills. The City of Milwaukee has a few youth summer employment programs, which are paid and come with mentorship and support which may not be available at other jobs. Find more information about each program and apply through the links below!
Handmake Cards for Foster Youth!
Looking for a weekend or spring break activity for the whole family?
You and your family can sign up for our service project by March 16th to make birthday and graduation cards for foster youth through Points of Light! Foster kids are often forgotten on their birthdays, and seldom receive the same level of recognition and attention as children raised with biological parents and siblings. Nothing says "you are special" like a handmade card with an uplifting, positive message. For details and to sign up, visit Points of Light ! We would love pictures of you and your child making cards together!
For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 (request CIT officer).
Suicide Prevention Hotlines
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), TTY Accessible   1-800-799-4TTY, Spanish/Español   1-888-628-9454
  • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
  • Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ)  1-866-488-7386
  • COPE Hotline  1-262-377-2673
Emergency Mental Health Care Numbers
  • Police: Emergency (request CIT officer)  911
  • Milwaukee County Psychiatric Crisis Service/Admissions 414-257-7260 or 414-257-7222
  • Milwaukee County Crisis Mobile Team 414-257-7222
Youth Services
  • HOPELINE Text Line  TEXT 741741
  • Pathfinders Youth Shelter  414-271-1560
  • Teen Crisis Line-Walker’s Point Family/Youth Center  414-647-8200
  • Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ Crisis Line ages 13-24)   1- 866-488-7386

  1. Wisconsin 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Department of Public Instruction
  2. Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee
  3. NAMI Greater Milwaukee
  4. RedGEN
  5. Kubly Foundation