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CFS Receives Funding from the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative

Over the past 8 years, individuals and families living near the Panhandle of Florida have faced much more than their share of traumatic events. The area experienced the trauma of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, received evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, faced the catastrophic financial impact of the 2010 BP oil spill, and has a large military presence. Unfortunately, studies have shown these traumatic experiences lead to greater incidence of child abuse and neglect.

As part of their mission to improve treatment and services for children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events and to increase access to these treatments and services, the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) has provided funding for the Department of Child & Family Studies to work with the Children’s Home Society in Pensacola on their Trauma Recovery Initiative (TRI).

The TRI Center provides trauma-informed services to children and youth experiencing complex trauma and are in foster care or other out-of-home family care or are at-risk of being removed from their homes. CFS faculty will work with the Center to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of the Parent Child Interaction Therapy  (PCIT) treatment program as a sustainable, culturally competent, trauma-informed treatment for abused and neglected children ages 2-10, including children of military families.

PCIT is an empirically supported treatment for young children with emotional and behavioral disorders that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns.

The TRI project will also demonstrate innovative approaches to trauma screening, training, and treatment for foster parents, adoptive parents, and relative and non-relative caregivers, and involvement of biological parents in the PCIT intervention in situations with a child welfare concurrent plan. System intervention strategies will include implementation of universal trauma screening for abused and neglected children and youth entering services; trauma-informed training for dependency case managers and community service providers; assessment and training of child serving community organizations regarding trauma-informed policy and practice; expanding agency and community capacity for trauma-specific interventions by proposing to actively participate in a new PCIT Learning Collaborative as well as being a host site for the Learning Collaborative.

“The findings of this project will be nationally significant because of the development of replicable, best practice approaches relevant to over 31,000 children served in Florida's privatized child welfare system, and over 500,000 in foster care systems across the United States,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Kathleen Ferreira.  “This will provide tremendous training and fidelity coaching opportunities in the community. Both CHS and CFS staff look forward to continued active participation in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and concerted collaborative efforts to identify, develop, and disseminate trauma-focused best practices to better serve this vulnerable population.”

Additional faculty working on the project are Drs. Sharon Hodges and Wei Wang.




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