New Study: “Advancing Trauma-Informed Systems for Children” from CHDI

A new study published by the Child Health & Development Institute of Connecticut, funded by the Children’s Fund of Connecticut, the IMPACT report is intended to help child serving systems advance trauma-informed care in order to provide more effective and cost-efficient services that result in better outcomes for all children: http://www.chdi.org/index.php/…med-systems-children

Introduction:

“Fortunately, many children are resilient and can recover from trauma exposure with familial and other natural supports. Other children, however, particularly those with chronic or severe trauma exposure and limited support, often experience significant and long-term problems. Exposure to potentially traumatic events can disrupt brain development and can have lifelong adverse effects on emotional and physical well-being.

The risks are especially high for young children who have limited internal resources to understand or cope with trauma and whose developmental trajectory is highly malleable. For example, trauma exposure has been linked to developmental delays, behavioral health problems including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), school problems, delinquency, substance abuse, and suicide. Childhood trauma exposure has been linked to the onset of 28% of all psychiatric disorders in adolescents. The landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study demonstrated that childhood trauma exposure is also associated with chronic health and behavioral health problems across the lifespan, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, emphysema, and premature death.

The lifetime costs associated with child maltreatment alone have been estimated at $210,012 to $1.8 million per child due to associated health, behavioral health, educational impairments, increased involvement in criminal justice, child welfare, social welfare systems, and lost work productivity. Cumulatively, the lifetime costs associated with child maltreatment are estimated at $124 billion to $5.9 trillion nationally for the children maltreated in a single year. One study found that 9% of all Medicaid claims for children were associated with child maltreatment.

There is now emerging evidence that investments in trauma-focused services and systems can be recouped through reduced health care costs in as little as one year. Preventive services that promote a secure relationship between young children and their caregivers can provide a lasting buffering effect to enhance resiliency and may prevent trauma exposure from occurring in the first place. Early identification of children suffering from trauma exposure and enhancing access to effective trauma-informed services can minimize the consequences of trauma exposure and promote healthy development. Together, these elements comprising “trauma-informed care” have the potential to improve outcomes for all children and to dramatically reduce service and system utilization costs over longer periods of time.

This IMPACT provides a framework for developing a comprehensive and integrated trauma-informed system of care for children. Examples are provided from Connecticut’s child-serving systems implementing trauma-informed programs and services. This report is intended to help child serving systems advance trauma-informed care in order to provide more effective and cost-efficient services that result in better outcomes for all children.”

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