Today, legislation authored by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), to provide increased support for children and families affected by trauma, was approved by the U.S. Senate as part of a mental health awareness and improvement amendment to legislation establishing new gun laws. Sen. Murray's Children's Recovery from Trauma Act includes a reauthorization and updates to the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI), which works with children and families who are exposed to a wide range of traumatic experiences including: physical and sexual abuse; domestic, school, and community violence; natural disasters, terrorism, or military family challenges; severe bereavement and loss; and life-threatening injury and illness. The amendment passed by a vote of 95-2, but will not move forward at this time.
"As we have unfortunately witnessed too often in recent years, not to mention this week, trauma involving children can happen at any time," said Senator Murray. "The Children's Recovery from Trauma Act ensures the providers have the proper tools available to not only serve their day-to-day needs in treating child trauma, but also maintain absolute preparedness in the event of a national tragedy. While I am grateful this amendment received such broad, bipartisan support today, I am disappointed the overall legislation to protect Americans against gun violence was defeated by politics and special interests. However, I am committed to seeing this through as we work to ease the burden on our children and their families when they face these tragedies."
NCTSI currently supports a national network of child trauma centers in forty-four states, including seventy-nine university, hospital, and community-based funded centers and ninety affiliate members. In addition to supporting everyday child trauma work, this network also mobilizes in response to national crises such as the shooting in Newtown, CT, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and the bombings in Boston, MA.
Specifically, the Children's Recovery from Trauma Act authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to:
*Support a national collaborative network of child trauma centers, including: grants for university and hospital child trauma centers which are involved with intervention development and dissemination of evidence-based practices; grants for diverse community-based organizations which are involved with providing services to children and families affected by trauma; and a grant for the NCTSI coordinating center to organize the collaboration, training, and dissemination activities of all funded and Affiliate NCTSI members to maintain the NCTSI network and outreach infrastructure;
*Support the analysis and reporting of the child outcome and other data collected by the NCTSI coordinating center to establish the effectiveness, implementation, and clinical utility of evidence-based treatment and services;
*Support the continuum of interprofessional training initiatives in evidence-based and trauma-informed treatments, interventions, and practices offered to providers in all child-serving systems;
*Support the collaboration of NCTSI, HHS, and other federal agencies in the dissemination of NCTSI evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions, treatments, products, and other resources to all child-serving systems and policymakers.
The following groups have endorsed the Children's Recovery from Trauma Act of 2013: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, Futures Without Violence, National Children's Alliance, National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Prevent Child Abuse America, Mental Health America, uFOSTERsuccess, American Art Therapy Association, American Association on Health and Disability, American Dance Therapy Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Orthopsychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, School Social Work Association of America, and The Trevor Project.