WUOMFM

What are we doing to treat kids with stress and trauma?

Oct 16, 2012

Dustin's Dwyer's post on us all being defined in part by our brains when we were 4 years-old had me thinking, worrying actually, about people who were not stimulated as little kids. What about those kids that were not thriving in preschool, but were instead having a really rough time?

All of us on the State of Opportunity team  have been reading plenty about the way poverty can be traumatic for kids.  Growing up with very few resources will not always leave lasting emotional scars on children, but sometimes it has long term effects on their health and their ability to be successful later on in life.

So, for those kids who do have trauma, how are they identified, and what's the treatment?

I remember reading in Paul Tough's work about medical professionals pushing a treatment protocol for all kids who seem like they have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, even if the source of that trauma isn't immediately obvious.

While that effort is swirling around medical circles, the state of Connecticut is actually trying something that seems pretty innovative.

Connecticut is using a Mental Health Services Block Grant to explore providing trauma treatment to all the  kids ages 5 through 12 in their child welfare system, and to some in the juvenile justice system.

The program is being run in collaboration with some established names in childhood trauma treatment (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has been around since 1913). These organizations are based in Connecticut too, which maybe goes a long way to explaining why the state is implementing such an innovative approach.

As the approach unfolds, I'm definitely interested to see their results. We'll also see if other states follow suit.