Congress, recognizing the serious mental health impact of traumatic events on children, adolescents, and families, authorized in 2000 the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI), as part of the Children’s Health Act. NCTSI’s goal is to transform mental health care for children and adolescents affected by trauma throughout the country by improving the quality of community-based trauma treatment and services and increasing access to effective trauma-focused interventions.
NCTSI develops and implements:
- Evidence-based interventions to reduce the debilitating mental health impact of traumatic experiences on children and adolescents
- Collaborations with all systems of care where children and adolescents who have experienced trauma receive services
- Successful education and training approaches, including training practitioners in trauma-informed and evidence-based treatment and services
- Data collection and evaluation activities
- Education and awareness raising with policymakers regarding trauma, resilience, and recovery
- Product development for professionals, policymakers, families, youth, and the public
- Partnerships with youth, families, and other consumers
Download the trifold brochure, National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative: Helping Kids Recover and Thrive - 2015 (PDF | 9 MB). This brochure is also available in single-page form (PDF | 944 KB).
A Collaborative Approach
Through this initiative, a collaborative network of experts was created to further the development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical interventions for systems that serve children, adolescents, and families. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is made up of SAMHSA representatives, in cooperation with four distinct groups of grantees and stakeholders:
- The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS) works to promote leadership and collaboration across NCTSN and serves as a national resource center to disseminate NCTSN program and intervention products.
- Treatment and Service Adaptation centers identify, develop, support, and improve treatment approaches for different types of trauma that children and adolescents experience.
- Community Treatment and Services centers provide services to children who have experienced traumatic events by implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of trauma treatment and services in community and service system settings.
- Affiliate members, made up of more than 160 formerly funded NCTSN members, continue to contribute to the national mission and ongoing work in their states and local communities.
To find a network member site near you, visit NCTSN's member finder.
Since the establishment in 2000, SAMHSA has funded a national network of grantees known as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) to increase access to effective trauma- and grief-focused treatment and services systems for children, adolescents, and their families, who experience traumatic events. The NCTSN has grown from a collaborative network of 17 to 184 centers and over 200 affiliate (formerly funded) centers and individuals located nationwide in universities, hospitals, and a range of diverse community-based organizations with thousands of national and local partners. A component of this work has been the development of resources and delivery of training and consultation to support the development of trauma-informed child-serving systems. Network members work together within and across diverse settings, including a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and continue to be a principal source of child trauma information and training for the nation. With this program, SAMHSA aims to raise the standard of care and improve access to evidence-based services for children experiencing trauma across the nation.
The NCTSN continues to be a principal source of child trauma information and training for the nation. In FY 2022, SAMHSA supported 129 grant continuations (127 grants with base budget authority and two grants with American Rescue Plan Act) and awarded a new cohort of 28 grants. In FY 2022, NCTSN grantee sites provided trauma-informed training to over 326,177 people. Since its inception, the NCTSN has provided training on best practices and other aspects of child trauma to over 2 million participants throughout the country. The NCTSI Learning Center now has over 496,000 registered users accessing this evidence-based child trauma resource.
Data collected in FY 2022 demonstrate that the current NCTSN grantees provided screening to over 84,767 individuals and evidence-based treatment to 42,109 children, adolescents, and family members which includes 7,500 children and adolescents. In addition, thousands more youth and families have benefited indirectly from the training and consultation provided by NCTSN grantees to organizations that deliver evidence-based trauma interventions to various communities throughout the country.
Learn more about SAMHSA’s Efforts to Address Trauma and Violence.