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Partnership Aims To Pinpoint Trauma's Impact On City Youth

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A new public-private partnership involving the New York City Administration for Children's Services hopes to break the damaging cycles caused by trauma in young kids' lives. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

The repercussions of abuse and trauma in the lives of children are far-reaching.

"Trauma plays a significant role in young people being held back, it causes them to be angry, it causes them to be dysfunctional," says ACS Commissioner Ronald Richter.

"They go into our chronic mental health system, they go into our homeless shelters, they go into our prisons," says Dr. Glenn Saxe, Child Study Center Director at NYU Langone Medical Center.

With the help of more than seven million dollars in federal grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the New York City Department of Children's Services, NYU Langone's Child Study Center and Bellevue Hospital are teaming up to improve how they address trauma in the lives of young people in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

"The funding acknowledges the gravity of the problem, it acknowledges that the public child welfare system is working really hard and there needs to be funding to bring the best of science to the problem," says Saxe.

Using the latest, proven methods in trauma evaluation and interventions, Dr. Saxe's team at the Child Study Center, and Psychiatrists from Bellevue, are training ACS workers to use their evidence-based methods on youth in the city system.

"We're working with them to have a high quality screening measure happening," says Saxe.

And once kids are screened and their trauma identified, treatment is tailored to address their needs.

"If they're suffering from trauma we're identifying it at the soonest, and making sure that those young people have access to services that will address that and hopefully help them heal," says Richter.

Money from the three grants is to be used over four years, the goal is that by then the new screening and training methods will be in place citywide and will become a model for the State and maybe even the country.

"There’s a very small number of programs that are really being set up as national models and that's really what this is," says Saxe.

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