About Us

Reach Hurting Kids Institute represents a collective effort by trauma-informed children's ministry experts, including Christian researchers, pastors, mental health practitioners, professors, authors, conference speakers, professional networks, and parachurch organizations, who are passionate about reaching the hurting kids in our congregations and communities. ​

Executive Director

Robert G. Crosby, PhD, is a professor of psychology at California Baptist University. A former youth pastor with over twenty-five years’ experience in children’s and youth ministry, he is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of children’s ministry research. Dr. Crosby currently serves in the children’s ministry at his church.

Director of Research

Erin I. Smith, PhD, is a professor of psychology and director of research for the Center for the Study of Human Behavior at California Baptist University. Dr. Smith has written extensively on the topic of church context and child development. Dr. Smith currently serves in the children’s ministry at her church.

Director of Content

Lori A. Crosby, MFT, RPT-S, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor who specializes in treating children who have experienced trauma. She has been serving in children’s ministry for over twenty years.

Southeast Regional Director

Southeast Regional Director Kayla M. Smith, MA, is a children’s pastor, college professor, and conference speaker. Drawing from her background in special education, she is an expert in the application of trauma-informed principles to the family and children’s ministry context.

Trauma-informed children’s ministry experts Pastor Kayla Smith, Dr. Robert Crosby, and Lori Crosby, MFT at the Children’s Pastors Conference (CPC) 2023.