Trauma assessment center for kids coming to W. Mich.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Tonight we take an exclusive look at a new trauma assessment center designed specifically for kids in West Michigan.

The center is being renovated at the Atriums business park, located off South Westnedge in Kalamazoo.

Newschannel 3 took a tour and discovered the need for treating children with trauma is becoming a major issue for the area.

Statistics reveal that 25% of kids in America will undergo a traumatic situation before they're 16 years old.

Now this room doesn't look like much now, but in just a few months, it's going to be helping those kids right here in Southwest Michigan.

The floors are bare and the walls empty, but by October this room will transform into a place where children ages three to 18 will be able to open up about the trauma they've experienced.

"Both art therapy and play therapy give kids a way to process events that have happened to them without words," said Mary Muliett, the Director of Southwest Children and Families Center with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

The Children and Family Division is expanding at Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

At other trauma assessment centers across the state the waiting list for a child can be up to a year.

Many are seeking help for physical and sexual abuse.

That's why this expansion in Kalamazoo is so vital, so that therapists can uncover what happened.

"It's like if you were to go into your doctor's office and walk in with a broken leg, and the doctor just casted that leg up and just sent you out without doing any further assessment of what really broke, and what needed to happen. It's very similar, the same with our kids, that we really need to know what's happened to be able to then shape the treatment further down the line for that child," said Muliett.

And the earlier a child can be assessed, the faster the treatment, and the quicker they will develop on the right track.

"It's also gratifying to see the parents understand their children's behavior in a different way. Where they were frustrated by it, they were at their wits end with what to do with it, and they really start to understand why the behavior is there, and what's driving it," said Sean de Four, the Vice President of Children and family Services with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

Once the therapy rooms are finished it will serve dozens of families across the state, and the hope is in the next five years another trauma assessment center will open either in Grand Rapids or Muskegon.