MILWAUKEE -- When the yellow tape comes down, children who experience or witness violence are oftentimes left with horrific memories; things that just should not be inside a child's head. But a new partnership between the city, county and Milwaukee Police Department hopes to make sure those kids are not forgotten.
The partnership led to the creation of the 'Mobile Urgent Treatment Team' and 'Trauma-Informed Care.' It calls for follow-up visits to children exposed to violence.
"As part of that conversation, help them tell their story about what they've experienced, give some guidance to family members and caretakers about what they might be able to expect," said Dr. Steven Dykstra, director of the 'Mobile Urgent Treatment Team.'
Dykstra says the help will extend to kids and teens who experience violence that doesn't grab headlines, but can still be traumatic.
"Being beaten up, being threatened with a weapon but not actually being injured with the weapon, seeing members of your family treated that way," said Dykstra.
"I was assigned to Sensitive Crimes and obviously, those children are exposed to and are witnesses or victims of a horrible crime," said Sgt. Annemarie Domurat of the Milwaukee Police Department. "And it disheartened me, because I thought 'there's nothing we can do for them after this.'"
Milwaukee models its program from one in New Haven, Connecticut. Officers went there earlier this year and were impressed.
"How involved the officers were, as far as making sure any community member they thought needed follow-up -- they made they sure they got in touch with services," said Domurat.
It is a program designed to promote peace -- and peace of mind.
"Most people who are exposed to violence, the vast majority, will not grow up to be violent. We want to help them too," said Dykstra.
Right now, police are conducting a pilot version of the program in Milwaukee's 7th District. Here is how the program will work. If police encounter kids they think need a follow-up, they will send a referral note to the treatment team -- as long as parents give permission.
If you'd like to call and set up a potential visit with the Mobile Urgent Treatment Team, you're urged to call 414-257-7621.