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Grant to Evaluate Treatment for Traumatized Children

Sue Reeves

03/18/2013

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The Children’s Center in Salt Lake City has been working with young children who have been exposed to trauma. Now, a four-year grant will evaluate which evidence-based practices work best to heal these children. Vonda Jump, senior research scientist at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, said the purpose of the grant is to find out what sorts of clinical services work best for kids who show signs of being affected on a daily basis by a traumatizing event, which could run the gamut from a dog bite to witnessing a murder. “We are looking at four treatment modalities and how they might work to help,” Jump said. “It might be a combination in terms of which treatments work best.” The target is to work with military and refugee families, the YWCA and South Main Clinic in Salt Lake City, and to also find out if it will be possible to implement some kind of screening tool pediatric offices might utilize to find more kids who might benefit from treatment. “If we can provide treatment, there might be things that parents might do to help their children,” Jump said. Often the perception is that “kids will get over it,” but sometimes, they don’t. “Trauma can impair their functioning for a long time, if no efforts are made to help children heal,” Jump said. Researchers have just begun to collect data, Jump said, and have had 11 referrals since the end of January. The target is to enroll 420 children during the four-year study. “It’s sad that there will be that many children coming for services,” Jump said, but the study will increase the overall knowledge of trauma and the effects of treatment on young children, with the goal that Salt Lake City might become a more trauma-informed community.

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