$1.9 million grant will expand services for Missouri children who experience trauma

A School of Medicine initiative will increase access to interventions for children where services are limited.

Nurse Treating Teenage Girl Suffering With Depression


Oct. 30, 2020

A shortage of mental health care providers has created a barrier to access for more than 60% of Missouri parents with children younger than 12, according to a 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health.

In central Missouri, the child maltreatment rate and the number of children entering protective custody exceeds the state average.

These and other factors put children in this region at a greater risk for trauma exposure, and that’s why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is providing a $1.9 million grant over five years to fund the Central Missouri Child Trauma Initiative through the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. The funds will increase access to sustainable, trauma-focused, evidence-based interventions for children where services are limited.

“National rates of childhood trauma exposure are staggering, with 70% of children experiencing at least one traumatic event by age 18,” said principal investigator Laine Young-Walker, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Robert J. Douglas, MD, and Betty Douglas Distinguished Professor in Psychiatry. “This grant will allow us to effectively serve trauma-exposed children here in Missouri by building a sustainable network of mental health professionals who can provide services, outreach and support for families in areas where needs are unmet.”

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