Funding loss stops program that helps traumatized children
Posted August 9, 2013
Durham, N.C. — It takes her a second to remember the exact date, but Linda Sanders will never forget what happened at her daughter’s home on Oct. 30, 2011.
“My daughter got shot,” she said. “Well, my daughter got killed.”
Police said Sanders’ daughter, Simeka Daughtridge, was shot and killed by her husband while her three children were in the home.
The murder left Sanders responsible for her grandchildren, all traumatized by their mother's death. She had no clue where to turn until Durham police and the North Carolina Children's Response Initiative stepped in.
“It’s basically a mental health and law enforcement partnership in order to meet the needs and assess children who have been affected by trauma,” said Karen Carmody, a former program director for the NCCRI program.
The initiative was funded by the North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission from 2005 until this year. Without the $275,000 from the commission, the organization was forced to close its doors July 1.
In an email, L. David Huffman, the commission's executive director, said the group’s “application did fall short of the funding cutoff line. This project seemed to meet criteria but was among a very competitive group of proposals.”
The North Carolina Children’s Response Initiative was born out of the law enforcement strategy known as “community policing,” which takes a collaborative, personal approach to tackling crime and the problems that stem from it. Durham officers who worked with the initiative developed one-on-one relationships with families and children who have experienced trauma.
Sgt. David Piatt says it has changed the way he approaches his job.
“We include the children in our reports now, not just as a victim or a suspect but as being present – so we can follow up with them,” he said.
Sanders worries what the shut-down will mean for families like hers.
“You don’t really know where to go to get help, and they’re reaching out a hand to help someone like me to cope,” she said.