New child care center in Chaska to focus on early-childhood trauma

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Soon, children in Minnesota, especially those living in rural communities, will have the chance to get easier access to trauma-focused child care.

But it won’t be your average preschool.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS went to Chaska to get a close-up preview of how a new program will help local families.

Dr. Chad Lorenz, CEO and founder of the Lorenz Clinic’s Early Childhood Day Treatment Program, said: "I grew up in a pretty rural area, acutely aware of the access shortages of mental health."

Dr. Lorenz added, "We can talk about change until we’re blue in the face, but when kids have a different experience of themselves and a different experience of adults, that’s really what brings about change."

Change, for the better, after a life-changing event, including neglect, or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

"The children that we are working with are at risk of not being able to live and learn in the community," Assistant Cinical Director Anne Fleming said.

So piece by piece the Lorenz team is imaging a new space for children to focus on their emotional needs and build confidence.
The team is in its final phase of construction, equipping rooms with sound masking technology for privacy.

"We are really focusing on their emotional development, so it would be three hours of therapy," Fleming said. "Where being in preschool or kindergarten would really be focusing on their academic needs, we are really focusing on their emotional development."

The children they’ll work with are at risk of losing their childcare placement or already have because of challenging behaviors, said Clinical Director Dr. Laiel Baker-DeKrey.

"Traditional daycare settings aren’t equipped to manage trauma and adverse childhood experiences type behavior," she said.

But at this center, the youth will learn: "They’re not alone," Baker-DeKrey said.

Dr. Lorenz said it’s in-network with most insurances. It also says many families will likely utilize a medical transportation provider through their insurance when coming from communities such as Glencoe, Watertown, Belle Plaine, New Prague, in addition to local cities in Carver and Scott counties like Chaska and Shakopee.