SPRINGFIELD – The Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children's Hospital has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to further their essential services and support of area children and families who have experienced psychological trauma.
The grant – awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – will fund a new program entitled Therapy House Calls: Effective Treatment in the Home for Families Experiencing Trauma and Loss. The project is designed to improve access to care for children and families in Hampden and Hampshire counties – who are struggling with the effects of psychological trauma – through the development of specialized home-based psychotherapy resources.
Community surveys suggest that by their 16th birthday, 67 percent of American children are exposed to at least one significant traumatic event.
Baystate's Family Advocacy Center joins a national network of over 130 child trauma centers that address a wide range of traumatic experiences, including physical and sexual abuse; domestic, school, and community violence; natural disasters and terrorism; and life-threatening injury and illness.
According to Dr. Barry Sarvet, vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and chief of Child Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center, it is the second time that the Family Advocacy Center has been awarded a federal grant to support children and families with psychological trauma. The new four-year grant continues their membership in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2000. The Network's mission is to improve the quality, effectiveness and availability of services for children and families who experience traumatic events.
As part of the Therapy House Calls program, Sarvet noted Baystate will partner with community mental health providers – Behavioral Health Net and ServiceNet – in the delivery of a highly effective form of psychotherapy known as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
"While this therapy was originally designed to be delivered in an office setting, the Baystate team will be developing and testing a modified version of the therapy for delivery in the home setting. This home-based form of therapy is expected to not only be more accessible, but also provide an opportunity for therapists to address the impact of traumatic experience on the entire family unit," Sarvet said.
In addition to focusing on the trauma related to community violence and other adverse childhood experiences, the program will also include strategies to address the special needs of families who have experienced severe stress related to parental military service.
"Advances in psychotherapy techniques for children and families affected by traumatic stress have been proven to be highly effective, however, the biggest challenge has been to disseminate and adapt these treatments in order to reach those people in the community who need it most," Sarvet said. "We are very excited to be collaborating with our community partners, colleagues, and sponsors to develop resources to help these children and families."
For more information on the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children's Hospital, visit baystatehealth.org/fac