Saturday, May 14, 2011

Community System of Care Improves Behavioral Health of Children Affected by Trauma

"Childhood exposure to traumatic events is a major public health problem in the United States. Traumatic events can include witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual abuse, violence in families and communities, loss of a loved one, refugee and war experiences, living with a family member whose caregiving ability is impaired, and having a life-threatening injury or illness. It is estimated that 26% of children in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event before the age of 4 years."

Children and youth affected by traumatic events improve their functioning when they can access effective community-based programs and supports, according to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

This report shows that after 12 months of accessing services within a community-based system of care, 44 percent of children and youth improved their school attendance, 41 percent improved their grades, and youth suicide attempts fell by 64 percent. In addition, the number of youth reporting arrests in the past 6 months fell by 36 percent.

Similarly the report shows that children and youth receiving trauma specific services experienced a 20 percent drop in the number experiencing problems at school, a 59 percent drop in the number with problems with suicidality, and a 57 percent drop in number of children engaging in delinquent behavior after 6 months of service.

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