RALEIGH—The North Carolina Division of Social Services (NCDSS) has been awarded grant funding for Project Broadcast: Disseminating Trauma-Informed Practices to Children in the North Carolina Child Welfare System. This project provides the state $640,000 each year for five years (through September 2016). Its aim is to help provide children with services and practices to address the trauma caused by past abuse or neglect before that mistreatment leads to mental health problems or chronic disorders later in the child’s life.
“This grant opportunity will help to provide tools that increase the capacity of the division and local departments of social services to serve children and families in our child welfare system,” said Sherry Bradsher, director of NCDSS. “Incorporating trauma-informed practices into our child welfare services allows for a more holistic approach to meeting the needs of children.”
Children and youth entering into the child welfare system have all, to some degree, experienced trauma. Many have histories of physical and sexual abuse and other types of trauma-inducing experiences. These experiences can often lead to mental health problems and over the child’s lifetime may lead to other disorders such as chronic health conditions, substance abuse, eating disorders, and HIV/AIDS, as well as contact with the criminal justice system.
In adopting trauma-informed, evidence-based practices, agencies serving children and youth in the child welfare system will take steps to adapt their service delivery system to include a better understanding of how trauma affects the lives of the children being served. Trauma-informed programs and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors so that these services and programs can be more supportive and meet the needs of the individual child. Trauma-specific interventions are designed specifically to address the consequences of trauma in the individual and to facilitate healing.
“Children who have been abused or neglected have been in and felt many negative experiences in their lives,” said Bradsher. “We owe it to them and their futures to have a system in place that acknowledges those experiences, understand their traumas, deals with its impact and prevents future occurrences.”
This grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families (ACF). NCDSS is partnering on this project with the Center for Child and Family Health, a leader of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—all of which are proven national leaders in developing effective programs and resources in this area.
The goals of Project Broadcast are:
Coordinate system-level changes across the system of care in the nine demonstration counties-- Buncombe, Craven, Cumberland, Hoke, Pender, Pitt, Scotland, Union, and Wilson;
Develop trauma-informed child welfare workforces and systems across the nine demonstration counties;
Increase local capacity and access to trauma-specific evidence-based mental health treatments for children and youth in the nine demonstration counties; and
Develop a plan to incorporate these practices statewide.
For more information about North Carolina’s child welfare programs, go to www.ncdhhs.gov/dss