Detecting and Reducing Post-Traumatic Stress Among Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

A Multi-Agency Early Intervention Program

Published in: Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 101, pages 261-269 (June 2019). doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.03.055

Posted on RAND.org on August 20, 2019

by Clare Stevens, Lynsay Ayer, Melissa Marie Labriola, Sara-Laure Faraji, Elizabeth Ebright

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Exposure to domestic violence (DV) has serious implications for youth, increasing risk for a range of problems, including post-traumatic stress. The Child Trauma Response Team is a multi-agency collaboration aimed at providing coordinated, immediate, trauma-informed, and interdisciplinary response to children and their impacted family members who are exposed to domestic violence. This mixed-methods study analyzed CTRT administrative data along with qualitative stakeholder interview data to describe the children and families served by CTRT, examine the reach of CTRT services, and articulate the lessons learned in the early stages of CTRT program implementation. Results show the majority of children accessing CTRT services were young and came from racial and/or ethnic minority backgrounds. The vast majority of families engaging with CTRT received safety assessment and planning and child trauma education, with many families receiving at least one other service. Stakeholders identified challenges to implementation as: identification of eligible families; initiating and ensuring program engagement; and collaboration and communication across multiple agencies. Several strategies to overcome these challenges were identified. Findings from this study indicate that, through inter-agency collaboration, reaching and serving children exposed to DV in the days and weeks immediately following a violent event is feasible-even in a large city with complex inter-agency relationships.

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