Central Michigan University’s Center for Children, Families and Communities celebrated its grand opening Thursday at CMU’s South Business Park on West Campus Drive.
Previously located in the Carls Center for Clinical Care at the Health Professions Building, the ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorated CCFC’s move to the new location for more dedicated facilities and specialized care.
“We’ll be able to get more into the communities and see more clients,” said Michelle Young, a graduate student from Saline who will be interning at the facility this summer. “It’s more of a practice environment. There used to be room confusion.”
CCFC received a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development. The $300,000 award spans two years. The center also received financial support from the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Provost’s Office.
Intended for interested potential clients to view the facilities and therapists looking to utilize the facilities for training, the ceremony and open-house marked the opening of the CCFC, which expects to see 20 families per week once fully operational.
In the past, CCFC shared resources with other programs in the College of Health Professions. Co-Director Larissa Niec hopes the center will provide dedicated care and therapy to families in need.
“We’re at the edge of a very rural area,” Niec said. “We can now reach families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to receive services.”
The new facility provides several offices for faculty and student workers, while offering treatment space with fully-outfitted observation rooms. Using two-way mirrors and handheld audio devices, clients can be observed and coached as they interact with their children.
“The good thing is we don’t just send them home to try the skills,” Niec said. “We actually get to help the parent in the moment. If a child has a tantrum, we’re right there to help them through it in a controlled environment. Everything is supervised.”
Newly outfitted with the recording devices and adjustable cameras, clients are able to be observed in greater depth, she said.
“Being able to record sessions, and move cameras is something that helps,” Niec said. “Before we couldn’t get as good of a view.”
Focusing on parent-child interaction therapy, the CCFC will provide an area to train students interested in practicing PCIT after graduation. Co-Director Ignacio Acevedo cited the dedicated area as creating an atmosphere where students and faculty can collaborate on projects.
“If a community has a need, we can reach it and make it happen,” he said. “We can train people, and offer students interested in the field one space for that training. This really creates a learning community. It’s kind of a think tank.”
Samuel Peer, a second-year graduate student in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program, looked forward to greater access to instruction and better equipment to get the job done.
“These rooms have been specifically designed for these treatments,” he said. “Having all the equipment in one place, this set up will help us make changes that will last longer. We have our faculty right here. They can come right in and coach us. It’s almost instantaneous.”
Lakeview graduate student Alyssa Gregory said the facility will help solve dysfunction in families, utilizing the dedicated equipment to reshape their relationships.
“We basically get to see parents and kids come in where parents think the kids are a problem,” she said. “In the end, they have a real relationship.”