A3: Crisis to Connection: An Anti-Racist, Trauma-Informed Approach to Improving Life Outcomes for Black Boys

Area of Focus: Organizational and Service Delivery Innovations
Room Location: Key 12

At The Children’s Center, we believe that every child deserves to dream and become the amazing person they were born to be. But for far too many Greater Detroit children, and Black boys in particular, their life’s possibility is often eclipsed by the color of their skin, their identity, and the trauma they have experienced. After a thorough dive into individual, community, and national level data, it became evident that the critical needs of Black boys and their families needed to become a focal point of service delivery not only at The Children’s Center, but also at other organizations and systems that touch the lives of Black boys. Data indicates that Black boys are disproportionately impacted by trauma and structural and systemic racism compared to their peers of other races. As a leading behavioral health and child welfare organization in Detroit, The Children’s Center recognized it had a responsibility to address these disparities and that it was going to take a bold, innovative, and courageous approach. In this pursuit, The Children’s Center embarked on a transformational systems change effort called, Crisis to Connection: An Imperative for Our Black Boys.

Crisis to Connection is an organizational and systems change effort, focused on aligning beliefs, values, and actions using a trauma-informed and anti-racist framework to better respond to and address the needs of Black boys in Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan. Achieving his imperative will require intentional, long-term commitment by The Children’s Center and the community at large. As such, bringing the community together and elevating the voices of historically marginalized individuals is a significant component of this effort. In this interactive presentation, participants will learn about how trauma and racism impact the health outcomes of individuals and communities, receive an overview of Crisis to Connection’s three-phased approach to systems change, and take away strategies to implement trauma-informed and anti-racist practices within their own organizations and communities. Together, with our collective power and resources, Black boys can heal from their experiences of trauma and live in a world where they are free to live their dreams.

Learning Objectives

  • A method to assess imperative needs of service delivery for your client population
  • Methods of engaging community stakeholders in a transformative systems change effort
  • Strategies to incorporate a commitment to anti-racism within your own organization


Daicia Price
Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work
University of Michigan

Kelvin Brown
Program Manager
The Children’s Center

Aubrey Gilliland
Project Coordinator
The Children’s Center

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