CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As the community continues to mourn a Middletown boy believed to be murdered, leaders of a Cincinnati-area organization are hoping their trauma training program can help other kids in similar situations.
Middletown police believe James Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, tried to abandon James in a park before she killed him. They suspect she then dumped the 6-year-old’s body in the Ohio River, with the help of her boyfriend James Hamilton.
James’s body has not been found, but his presumed death has had an immense impact on the Middletown community and beyond.
“As a community member, I even experienced a little bit of what we would call vicarious trauma. When we hear stories like that, we feel that personally,” Julie Cooper, senior vice president of training and curriculum with Trauma Free World, said. “It affects us.”
Leaders of nonprofit Trauma Free World are inspired to help make a change wherever it is needed. The organization is made up of therapists and child welfare workers who offer trauma training. So far, they say they have trained people in 72 countries.
“We speak to parents, but we also speak to kinship care providers, grandparents, teachers, coaches, mentors,” Cooper said.
Rob Hall, the president of the organization, says the program teaches people how to spot signs of abuse, neglect and abandonment, and then educates adults on how to respond to help the child involved.
Hall says the primary goal is to create safe adults in the lives of children.
Both Hall and Cooper wonder if it could have helped James.
“I think most of us would look at that and think this did not just come out of nowhere, right? That there was something brewing underneath there that was going on, and that this didn’t just occur in one isolated situation,” Cooper said.
The group has held trainings in Middletown before, and after learning about what happened to James, they say they are prepared to come back to the city and do it again.
“Where we see ourselves stepping in is perhaps empowering, educating, coaching, training organizations like Community Building Institute or anyone else, Middletown City Schools,” Hall said. “To prevent the next James, and in this moment, to help the healing of a community like Middletown.”
No official training session has been scheduled in Middletown, but Hall says they are looking into it.
The trauma training ranges from 30-minute online sessions to 18 hours of classes.
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