"Children exposed to trauma may have difficulty building
relationships, concentrating at school, and controlling their
emotions" says Robert S. Pynoos, M.D., M.P.H., Co-Director
of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.
Unfortunately, trauma is all too common in our communities:
school shootings, domestic violence, community violence, accidents,
and even invasive medical procedures all can have profound
psychological, social, and even biological effects upon children.
The grantees of the National Child Traumatic Stress (NCTS)
Initiative address a variety of child populations, traumas,
and other issues. Independently and in collaboration with
one another, they seek to serve children in urban centers
and rural areas, from families affected by domestic violence,
from refugee groups fleeing civil wars, and in American neighborhoods
riddled with ongoing violence.
The following are samples of grantee activities:
- The Early Trauma Treatment Network, based at the University
of California-San Francisco, is working to develop and disseminate
a uniform assessment protocol to measure the effects of trauma
on preschool children. With additional funding from the National
Institute for Mental Health, grantees are developing a manual
on psychotherapy for children and parents together to mitigate
the effects of domestic violence on children and families.
- Organizations that seek to serve children of refugees often
have difficulty reaching these children. Fear and distrust
among some members of the refugee population, or different
cultural expectations of children, can hamper efforts to smooth
children's transition to life in the United States, as well
as their recovery from the trauma of relocation and the trauma(s)
that forced such relocation. At the Center for Multicultural
Human Services in Falls Church, VA, funding from the NCTS
Initiative has allowed the careful documentation, assessment,
and evaluation of staff efforts to contact and serve children
of refugees from Sierra Leone. Through initial contact with
community leaders at churches and mosques, the Center for
Multicultural Human Services built trust within the local
Sierra Leonian population and learned more about community
values and needs. The Center intends to create a model for
service to refugee children that will be applicable to communities
across the country.
- Salt Lake City serves as the center of the Child Trauma
Treatment Network of the Intermountain West (CTTN-IW). In
some of the most sparsely populated regions of the country,
general practitioners and family doctors can be the first-and
only-resource for physical and mental health care. Through
professional training and support, CTTN-IW seeks to build
the confidence and capacity of both health and mental health
professionals to assess and treat traumatic stress in children.