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National Child Traumatic Stress Network e-Bulletin Jaunary 2013


Resources in Response to the Recent Shooting

In response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help families and communities. These resources include tip sheets on:

Another School Violence Resource Available
You may want to view Response and Recovery after School Violence, presented by Marleen Wong and Melissa Brymer. Originally aired in 2009, this 90-minute discussion with accompanying slides explores threat assessment and management, including what makes an effective Threat Assessment Team, the behavior traits and communication warning signs exhibited by perpetrators, questions to ask when assessing a threat, collecting data on and interviewing a student/adult who is a potential threat, red flag concerns, and post-event recovery responses, including Psychological First Aid for Schools. 

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Psychological First Aid for Schools now Available!

The NCTSN and the National Center for PTSD are pleased to announce the release of Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) Field Operations Guide and its accompanying handouts. PFA-S is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of a school crisis, disaster, or terrorism event. The PFA-S Field Operations Manual is divided into the following sections: 

  • Introduction and Overview 
  • Preparing to Deliver Psychological First Aid
  • The Core Actions
  • Appendices

Please visit the NCTSN website for details and download the complete manual and appendices, along with individual handouts and worksheets found inside the manual. 

The 12 Core Concepts for Understanding Traumatic Stress Responses in Children and Families

The 12 Core Concepts, developed by the NCTSN Core Curriculum Task Force, are now available on the NCTSN website. The Concepts serve as the conceptual foundation of the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma and provide a rationale for trauma-informed assessment and intervention. The Concepts cover a broad range of points that practitioners and agencies should consider as they strive to assess, understand, and assist trauma-exposed children, families, and communities in trauma-informed ways. 

New on the NCTSN Learning Center

Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma

The Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma ™ (CCCT) is a tool developed by the NCTSN to promote the development of a national trauma-informed mental health workforce by providing a sound foundational understanding of psychological trauma. The CCCT can be used to train both graduate students and practicing professionals who wish to increase their expertise in psychological trauma, trauma-informed assessment, and intervention.

The CCCT consists of case-based, instructor-facilitated modules that draw on problem-based learning (PBL) principles to provide learners with a foundational understanding of “core” trauma-related concepts and to enhance clinical judgment in work with youth and families exposed to trauma and traumatic loss. The CCCT is specifically designed to strengthen clinical knowledge and clinical reasoning skills while encouraging the integration of cultural, developmental, strength-based, and systems perspectives.

For a printable PDF of the 12 Core Concepts and to apply to use the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma materials

Noteworthy Resources

 The Safe Start Center’s Toolkit on Court-Involved Youth and Exposure to Violence is now available! This toolkit for attorneys and other legal advocates includes a checklist and resource guide on identifying polyvictimization and trauma among court-involved children and youth, a tip sheet for staff and advocates working with children polyvictimization, an issue brief regarding victimization and trauma experienced by children and youth for legal advocates, and tipsheets for staff, advocates, child welfare workers working with children who are court-involved. 

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Recent Publications by Network Members, Affiliates, and Colleagues:

Network Members of the NCTSN Category II Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress have several publications worth downloading and sharing.

 Theresa Betancourt, Elizabeth Newnham, Christopher Layne, Soeun Kim, Alan Steinberg, Heidi Ellis, and Dina Birman are the authors of Trauma History and Psychopathology in War-Affected Refugee Children Referred for Trauma-Related Mental Health Services in the United States in the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 25, Issue 6). The study, using the NCTSN Core Data Set, investigated the trauma history profiles, psychopathology, and associated behavioral and functional indicators of 60 war-affected refugee children presenting for psychological treatment. Assessments indicated high rates of probable posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, somatization, traumatic grief, and general behavioral problems. Exposure to war or political violence frequently co-occurred with forced displacement, traumatic loss, bereavement or separation, exposure to community violence, and exposure to domestic violence. Academic problems and behavioral difficulties were prevalent; however, criminal activity, alcohol/drug use, and self-harm were rare. These findings highlight the complex trauma profiles, comorbid conditions, and functional problems that should be considered in providing mental health interventions for refugee children and adolescents. Given the difficulties associated with access to mental health services for refugees, both preventive and community-based interventions within family, school, and peer systems hold particular promise.

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Alicia Lieberman, Steven Marans, and Robert Macy are members of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, which has released its final recommendations for a national response to children's exposure to violence in Defending Childhood: Protect, Heal, Thrive. The report emphasizes prevention and intervention and underscores the importance of trauma-informed care and victim-tailored services. The task force calls on the federal government, states, tribes, and communities to ensure that all children exposed to violence are identified, screened, and assessed; to create multidisciplinary councils to facilitate systemwide collaboration; to involve men and boys as critical partners in preventing violence; and to help, not punish, child victims of sex trafficking. 


Carmen Rosa Norona is among the authors of Infant Mental Health Professional Development: Together in the Struggle for Social Justice in the journal ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families (Volume 33, Number 2). Authors discuss the field of infant mental health and developments over the last thirty years, and call on the infant mental health field to intentionally address some of the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and other inequities embedded in society. They present and discuss the Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets, a guiding set of principles outlining standards of practice in the field and pointing the way to a just society via engaged professional practice.

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