Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Ronald E. Richter, the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital today announced an unprecedented effort to improve trauma services for children and young people in New York City’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. ACS, the Child Study Center, and Bellevue have been awarded three grants totaling more than $7 million by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families that will support programs assisting children in New York City with mental health assessment and treatment, as well as train service providers who care for these children. Key partners in this collaboration include the New York State Office of Mental Health and Office of Children and Family Services, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and regional medical centers across the country. New York City is at the center of cutting-edge research in the field of children’s mental health, housing important institutions that lead ground-breaking research to help identify and treat children who have experienced trauma.
“Children in the City’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems often suffer from the severe effects of trauma and require mental health care and attention from highly trained providers,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This groundbreaking partnership between New York City and NYU Langone will help provide children in the City’s care with the high quality mental health services they need and deserve. Together, we are committed to keeping children and young people in our City safe and healthy.”
“As leaders in child research and experts on the needs of children and families within the public child services systems, NYU Langone is dedicated to making real and measurable change in the child welfare system by sharing our leadership and knowledge of the field to help better the lives of children,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center.
“Many youth who enter foster care have experienced some form of trauma in their lives, which can have devastating and long-lasting mental health effects,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “This partnership with NYU Langone will give caregivers the tools they need to ensure that children and young people in the City’s care can overcome the serious effects of trauma and lead happy, healthy and productive lives.”
“We are dedicated to providing high-quality care and services to the children and young people in our care, and this partnership will help strengthen those efforts,” said Commissioner Richter. “The expertise and dedication of the Child Study Center and Bellevue will allow us to enhance our mental health and trauma services and result in tremendous benefits for the children and young people in the City’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.”
“The nation’s child welfare system is the front line safety net for abused and neglected children, and if it fails, the consequences can be tragic and last well into adulthood,” said Glenn N. Saxe, MD, the Arnold Simon Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and director of the Child Study Center at NYU Langone. “We have created an effective program and assembled leading experts across the nation to address this daunting challenge. We are pleased to work with supportive partners at the highest levels, both nationally and in New York’s child welfare and mental health systems. The problems are complex and there are no easy solutions, but we are dedicated to meeting this challenge.”
“It’s well established that children within juvenile detention facilities have not benefited from recent advances in trauma evaluation and interventions to help in proper treatment for serious issues stemming from abuse and neglect,” said Jennifer F. Havens, MD, associate professor, vice chair for Public Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Child Study Center, director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center. “Our program will immediately help traumatized children and young people by providing effective screening and counseling, and will also provide a framework to train and educate staff within juvenile detention facilities to ensure more successful outcomes.”
Many of the children New York City encounters in its child welfare and juvenile justice systems have experienced trauma in their lives. Studies show that these children are more likely to suffer from trauma’s severe consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts, substance abuse, violent behavior, and school failure than children outside these systems. The grants obtained by ACS, the Child Study Center and Bellevue Hospital address these considerable needs and will fund several initiatives aimed at improving trauma services in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in New York City and State, including:
- Funded by a $2.4 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, the Child Study Center, in partnership with ACS, will establish a Center on Coordinated Trauma Services in Child Welfare and Mental Health to provide national expertise and support the specialized adaptation of effective treatment and services for children and families with trauma-related mental health needs in child welfare systems in New York City and across the United States. ACS and the Child Study Center will facilitate the testing, adaptation, and integration of the proposed mental health tools and interventions in real world settings.
- Funded by a $3.2 million grant from Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the Atlas Project Administration on Children, Youth and Families – a partnership between ACS, the Child Study Center, the Ulster County Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services – will serve as an integrated, trauma-informed, foster-care focused project. Aimed at strengthening mental health assessment and treatment for children in the City’s and State’s child welfare systems, it will also improve training for service providers; identify practices and services that are not meeting the needs of children and families; and create tools to improve safety, permanency, well-being, and adoption.
- Through a $1.6 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, the Bellevue Hospital Center in partnership with ACS will provide trauma-focused care at two ACS secure juvenile detention facilities – Crossroads in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and Horizon in Mott Haven, The Bronx. Bellevue will establish trauma-informed mental health screening and evidence-based skills groups to reduce trauma-associated problems and will build partnerships in systems associated with juvenile detention to increase trauma responsiveness in those areas.