Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) directors working to meet the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Accreditation Standard for mental health need a resource to help them on their journey to deliver the highest quality care to children and families. Especially for non-clinicians, ensuring that mental health services meet the necessary quality threshold can be challenging. How do you make the decision to offer mental health services provided through linkage agreements, or in-house? How do you monitor the quality of mental health services when you’re not in the room? What’s the difference between screening and assessment? How do these guide service provision decisions and treatment? To help answer these questions, the NCTSN and NCA have developed a web-based training resource comprising ten modules geared to help non-clinicians understand, evaluate, and manage mental health service delivery for CACs. Each module contains an easy-to-understand overview of the topic, expert interviews that further drill down into the material, and links to practical tools and resources.

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New Intervention Factsheet:
Early Pathways (EP)

EP uses child-led play to strengthen the parent-child relationship in order to help caregivers better understand and manage their child’s behavior and emotional problems. While learning child-led play, caregivers are taught cognitive strategies to help them provide calm and thoughtful responses to their very young children. EP initially provides parents strategies proven to strengthen the child’s prosocial behaviors and to limit on challenging behaviors; EP then focuses on trauma-informed strategies including safety, trigger recognition, calming strategies, narratives of child’s trauma exposure, and recovery. EP includes measures to monitor progress and advocacy services to assist family in meeting child and family’s needs (e.g., refer child to pediatrician; help support a parent seeking a school IEP for their child; food stamps; etc.).

For more information, view the EP Factsheet: 



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Remembering Trauma:
Connecting the Dots between Complex Trauma and Misdiagnosis

Remembering Trauma: Connecting the Dots between Complex Trauma and Misdiagnosis in Youth is Part 1 in this 2 part series. It is a short film (16 minutes) that highlights the story of a traumatized youth from early childhood to older adolescence illustrating his trauma reactions and interactions with various service providers (including probation officer, school counselor, and therapist). This product was created in order to support the critical importance of using a trauma lens in our work within child-serving systems and the potentially detrimental impact of not incorporating a trauma framework. We believe this resource can serve as a powerful educational and awareness raising tool.

 



New Article:

Joanna Love and Robert Fox are authors of Home-Based Parent Child Therapy for Young Traumatized Children Living in Poverty: A Randomized Control Trial just published in the Journal for Child & Adolescent Trauma (June 2017). A randomized control trial was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based, parent-and-child therapy program specifically developed for toddlers and preschoolers living in poverty with trauma symptoms. Sixty-four children 5-years of age and younger were referred to a community-based clinic for behavior problems and emotional difficulties. All children had experienced one or more potentially traumatic events and met the DSM-5’s criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children Six Years of Age and Younger. All families received government assistance indicating that their income met the federal definition for poverty. Participants were randomly assigned to either immediate treatment or wait list control groups. Significant between-group differences on all post-treatment measures were found. After the waitlist group completed treatment, significant improvements for both groups were found on all measures at six-weeks follow-up. Outcomes included reductions in challenging behaviors and emotional symptoms of trauma, improved caregiver-child relationships, and increased caregiver adherence to treatment strategies. This study offers support for early intervention of children with trauma symptoms and identifies the clinical challenges and advantages of providing therapy services in a home setting for very young children in poverty.

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New Article:

NCTSN members Benjamin Oosterhoff, Julie Kaplow, Christopher Layne, and Robert Pynoos are authors of Civilization and Its Discontented: Links between Youth Victimization, Beliefs about Government, and Political Participation across Seven American Presidencies just published in American Psychologist (July 2017). Promoting trust in public officials and active political engagement is vital to sustaining a well-functioning democracy. Developmental psychologists propose that youths’ beliefs about government and participation in politics are rooted in personal experiences within their communities. Previous studies have focused on how positive experiences within youths’ families, schools, and communities facilitate greater social trust and political participation. However, less is known about how negative interpersonal experiences—such as criminal victimization—intersect with youths’ beliefs about the trustworthiness, competence, and knowledge of government officials and their participation in political activity. Using data from 39 waves of the Monitoring the Future study, the current study examined associations among youth victimization, beliefs about government, and participation in various political activities. Adolescents (N = 109,574; 50.9% female) enrolled in 12th grade across the US reported on whether they had experienced various types of victimization during the previous year, their beliefs about government, and their participation in multiple forms of political activity. Adolescents who reported more frequent victimization experiences endorsed significantly greater discontent with government and were significantly more engaged in various forms of political activity. The magnitude and direction of these effects were generally consistent across different types of victimization, different demographic subgroups of youth, and different socio-historical periods. Findings are interpreted from a social contract theory perspective, followed by a discussion of implications for building psychological theory and informing public policy.


 


New Article:

Kristen Berg, Cheng-Shi Shiu, Kruti Acharya, Bradley Stolbach, and Michael Msall have co-authored Disparities in Adversity among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Study published June 2016 in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. People with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) experience disparities in health, and an important risk factor for health disparities in the ASD population is adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of ACEs among families of children with and without ASD, using a population-based sample. Data from the 2011 to 2012 National Survey of Child Health were analyzed to estimate prevalence of ACEs among families of children with and without ASD, age 3 to 17 years (ASD=1,611; estimated population=1,165,434). The child's ASD status was obtained from parent report; ACEs were assessed with the modified Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale. ASD status among children was significantly and independently associated with higher probability of reporting one to three ACEs. Authors concluded that children with ASD may experience a greater number of family and neighborhood adversities, potentially compromising their chances for optimal physical and behavioral health outcomes. Assessment and reduction of ACEs among families of young people with ASD could potentially contribute to the reduction of population health disparities.
Available from: doi:10.1111/dmcn.13161



 

New Article:

Frederick Stoddard, Erica Sorrentino, Jennifer Drake, J. Michael Murphy, Abigail Kim, Stephanie Romo, Jerome Kagan, Nancy Snidman, Glenn Saxe, and Robert Sheridan are authors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis in Young Children with Burns published in Journal of Burn Care and Research (Volume 38, Issue 1). The primary aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in young children hospitalized for burns. A secondary aim was to assess partial PTSD in this population. PTSD diagnosis and symptoms were evaluated utilizing both the diagnostic interview for children and adolescents (DICA-P) module and the PTSD semi-structured interview and observational report (PTSDSSI). PTSD symptomatology was assessed from parent interviews at 1 month after discharge from a major pediatric burn center. Four of the 42 participants who completed the DICA-P met full criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD (10%). Of the 39 who also completed the PTSDSSI, 1 (3%) met full criteria for PTSD diagnosis on that measure. Twenty-seven percentage of subjects met partial criteria on the DICA-P vs 16% on the PTSDSSI, without impairment. Furthermore, 67% of subjects met DICA-P criteria for the re-experiencing cluster and 54% met the PTSDSSI re-experiencing criteria. Although only a small percentage met full PTSD diagnostic criteria by either measure, a high percentage of young children with burns manifested some posttraumatic symptoms 1 month after discharge. Because PTSDSSI diagnosis is strongly linked to the diagnostic and statistical manual-5 (DSM-5) criteria for "PTSD in children 6 years and younger," these results may offer clues to current diagnoses of PTSD in young children. Future research is needed to improve care by determining the risk factors and course of PTSD to further refine the diagnostic criteria for identifying children most in need of intervention, such as those hospitalized for burn injuries.

 


New Article:


Jennifer West, Belle Liang, and Joseph Spinazzola have co-authored Trauma Sensitive Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Qualitative Descriptive Analysis in the International Journal of Stress Management (Volume 24, Issue 2). Research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic childhood abuse has revealed that traditional trauma treatments often fail to fully address the complicated symptom presentation, including somatic complaints, loss of awareness of one’s emotional and physical being in the present moment, and overall lack of integration between the self and the body. The mindfulness-based intervention of hatha yoga shows promise as a complementary treatment as it focuses on personal growth in addition to symptom reduction. This qualitative study explored the experiences of 31 adult women with PTSD related to chronic childhood trauma who participated in a 10-week Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) class, specifically examining perceived changes in symptoms and personal growth. Five themes were identified that reflect participants’ feelings of gratitude and compassion, relatedness, acceptance, centeredness, and empowerment (GRACE). Findings demonstrated that TSY’s emphasis on mindful movement and interoceptive awareness helps to regulate affective arousal, increases ability to experience emotions safely in the present moment, and promotes a sense of safety and comfort within one’s body. Furthermore, the qualitative data illustrate ways in which TSY may assist in both symptom reduction as well as personal growth. The GRACE themes provide insight into how participants felt TSY benefited their lives on and off the yoga mat, such as the power to make choices and determine the direction of their lives; develop strong connections to others; accept and appreciate themselves and their life experiences; and cultivate a sense of calm and internal balance.



 

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This project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.