Salt Lake City, Utah —
Daily reminders of community violence make the news headlines, as incidents of abuse and neglect and other crimes against children capture the public’s attention. These tragic examples of violence clearly demonstrate the need for early childhood trauma services in our communities.
Traumatic events have a profound effect on children’s social, academic and emotional development. According to the 2012 census, the population of children under the age of 5 in Utah makes up 9% of the population, which exceeds the national average of 6.4%. Current research has found that more than half of children ages 2-5 (52.5%) have been exposed to a severe stressor. As a result, it is estimated more than 100,000 preschool aged children in Utah may qualify for trauma treatment.
The most common traumas for this age group include accidents, physical trauma, abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic and community violence. The negative effect on their ability to learn may result in developmental delays and other learning problems. The social-emotional impact of trauma is severe and impacts the child's ability to function at home and at school. Studies have also shown that the long-term ramifications of untreated childhood trauma extend far into adulthood with serious lifelong consequences, including chronic disease.
Unfortunately, access to treatment for childhood trauma is limited because Utah does not have enough clinicians trained to provide this highly specialized care to very young children. With the support of a $309,213 grant from the Cambia Health Foundation, The Children’s Center will create a statewide system of care for underserved children using cost-effective, evidence-based trauma treatments.
The Children's Center, a private not for profit agency in Salt Lake City, has provided mental health care to children (birth to 8 years old) with emotional and behavioral problems for over 50 years. Over the next three years, The Children’s Center will use the Cambia Health Foundation’s grant to develop a core curriculum and train clinicians using a two-year learning collaborative, which will prepare them to return to their communities with skills in providing direct care to children and families, creating collaborations between partner agencies, and training and mentoring mental health colleagues in their communities. This will increase access to quality trauma-informed treatments for families living in rural and urban communities throughout the state of Utah. The project estimates serving at least 480 children throughout the three-year grant period.
“Utah’s children deserve the best care their community can provide. Cambia Health Foundation is proud to partner with The Children’s Center to increase access to an overlooked, but much needed form of behavioral health care for young children throughout the state,” said Kathleen Pitcher Tobey, program officer for Cambia Health Foundation. “We support innovative, highly collaborative projects like this, which focus on proven, evidence-based solutions and long term, positive impacts on the health of children in our community.”
“With the generous support of the Cambia Health Foundation, we have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the health of Utah’s children by increasing access to treatment for trauma and preventing the chronic and expensive health issues that extend into adulthood,” said Dr. Douglas Goldsmith, Executive Director of The Children’s Center. “Not only will this program provide clinicians in Utah with expert training and community collaboration, it also has the potential for regional and nationwide duplication and implementation for even greater reach to children in communities across the United States.”
About The Children’s Center
Since its inception in 1962, The Children’s Center provides comprehensive mental health care to enhance the emotional well-being of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. The Center is the only agency of its kind in Utah, and provides services to over 2,000 families annually who live along the Wasatch Front. In addition to mental health services, The Children’s Center is a training facility for a mental health professionals and students in fields of social work, psychology, speech therapy, nursing, and medicine.
About Cambia Health Foundation
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience the health care system. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations to create a more person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. Through its recently launched children’s health program, the Foundation seeks to partner with community and school-based organizations that are pursuing holistic, integrated approaches to addressing children’s health issues. For more information, visit http://cambiahealthfoundation.org/