A report by a national advocacy group for poor children and families is calling on federal, state, and local policymakers to pay more attention to the needs of children who are exposed to trauma caused by experiences such as witnessing violent crime, being bullied at school, or losing family members in military conflicts.
The National Center for Children in Poverty, based at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, issued a list of recommendations to address what the authors say is a dearth of strategies and programs to help children who have been subjected to trauma. One-quarter of all children and adolescents are exposed to trauma, the report says, and the rates are likely higher for youngsters who are poor or members of racial and ethnic minorities.
“Strengthening Policies to Support Children, Youth, and Families Who Experience Trauma” calls for tribal and governmental agencies that handle mental-health services, juvenile justice, and child-welfare programs to incorporate promising strategies for preventing and treating trauma in youths and their families. It highlights existing programs that are addressing child trauma in a military community in Watertown, N.Y., in rural Maine, and in American Indian communities in North Dakota.
A version of this article appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of Education Week