Trauma therapy can help children heal, Roanoke Valley creates network to help

Therapy reduces PTSD symptoms, behavioral problems

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – On any given day in the United States, as many as 438,000 kids and teens are in the foster care system.

According to published reports, 70-percent have a documented history of abuse or neglect and 80 percent have witnessed violence. New research suggests an intensive form of trauma therapy may go a long way toward helping kids.

"So often we think of these children as having an abuse, you know, one abuse or neglect experience, when in fact they've had many more types of trauma," said Jessica Bartlett, the deputy program director of Early Childhood and Child Welfare Child Trends.

The study found those who had evidence-based trauma therapy had a reduction in PTSD symptoms and fewer behavioral problems.

The Roanoke Valley is trying to become more aware about trauma and the effect on children.

"The Roanoke Valley's Trauma-Informed Community Network (TICN) Initiative, headed by Juvenile Court Judge Frank Rogers and the Children's Trust Executive Director Janice Dinkins Davidson, is working to bring together local agencies who work with families and children to collaborate on a professional culture shift from treating trauma victims as simply 'persistently mentally ill,' and instead to bring knowledge of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)'s into our work in the community. With an understanding of complex trauma and its lifelong effects on the developing brain, the next steps are to identify and cultivate evidence-based, effective treatments for complex trauma, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, expressive therapies, trauma systems therapy and other research-based modalities that enhance resilience and effective coping mechanisms to reduce the effects of trauma and help the traumatized brain heal itself," said Ben Jones, with the Roanoke County Department of Social Services.

The TICN meets regularly and has several opportunities for professionals in our area to take part and help shape the future of trauma-informed services in our community. Contact Janice Dinkins Davidson at janice.davidson@roact.org for more details and how to join.

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