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January 2002Vol. 3, No. 1New HHS Initiative Focuses on Child Trauma

The terrorist attacks on September 11 left thousands of children traumatized both physically and emotionally. And both before and after September 11, thousands of children annually are traumatized by being abused or neglected or by witnessing violence in their homes.

To help all traumatized children heal, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October awarded $10 million in grants to the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative. The initiative will encompass the wide spectrum of traumatic stress on children. "Traumatic stress can result from many incidents--experiencing natural and human-caused disasters, child abuse, rape or other dangerous crimes as well as witnessing such trauma happening to a loved one," explained then-Acting Administrator of SAMSHA Joseph H. Autry III, M.D.

Administered by HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), three types of grants were awarded:

  • A grant to the University of California Los Angeles of $3 million to establish a National Center for Traumatic Stress, which will coordinate the initiative and create a network of centers involved in the study, treatment, and support of children and families impacted by traumatic stress.
  • Grants totaling nearly $3 million divided among 5 institutions to establish centers to identify, support, improve, or develop effective treatment and service approaches for different types of child traumatic events, different ages of development, and children involved in different child service sectors, such as the child welfare and protective service systems.
  • Grants totaling nearly $4 million divided among 12 agencies to establish community practice centers for child trauma treatment that will collect clinical data on traumatized children and will provide trauma-focused professional training.

The information gained from grantees will be used to replicate the programs in other communities. "The development and implementation of this initiative will help us to maximize trauma recovery, and understand which children and which types of trauma exposure are effectively treated by different types of intervention approaches as well as how intervention approaches should best address developmental issues," said Bernard S. Arons, M.D., director of SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services.

For a complete list of the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative grantees, visit:

Related Items

See related story "HHS Responds to September 11 Tragedy" in the September/October 2001 issue of Children's Bureau Express.

Read "Safe Horizon Expands its Role in New York City" in the January 2002 issue of Children's Bureau Express.