Fighting for the Most Innocent and Weak Among Us


Fighting for the Most Innocent and Weak Among Us

As reality television has shown us in recent years, life with all its twists and turns is in essence a "real world" laboratory. Triumphs and tragedies cause various positive and negative reactions that ripple through family circles, as well as communities. When life is simple, the impact people have on each other can be a blessing. But when Therapist with a mother and child tragedy and suffering strike, it is not uncommon for some to take anger out on the most innocent and weak among us – children.

The challenges of doing research and science-informed clinical work with children and their families are daunting. Scientific inquiry is often thwarted by the complex problems and conditions that children and families face. In fact, according to the National Research Council’s Institute of Medicine, scientists and professionals have barely begun to use our growing research capabilities to help children and families negotiate the changing demands and possibilities of life in the 21st century.

Faculty members at the University of Kentucky Center for the Study on the Violence Against Children (CSVAC) are responding to this challenge by following a scientific agenda that is translational and multidisciplinary in focus. By calling upon researchers from many different backgrounds, the Center is developing treatments that can truly help children where they live and go to school. Due to CSVAC’s focus on utilizing and applying the latest advancements in brain development and innovative social science research, CSVAC has become an invaluable resource to the scientific and clinical community.

CSVAC is a translational research center that uses clinical practice, research and training on child and family trauma in an effort to address the detrimental effect of violence against children in the Commonwealth, as well as the nation. Their primary mission is to understand, treat, and eliminate violence against children.

Since 2000, UK's College of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine have provided the staff to implement CSVAC's innovative care and clinical practice to children and families in the state's most challenging child welfare cases. With every child and family entering the clinic, whether it is a biological or a foster/adoptive family, the staff works tirelessly to attain their goal of finding the best ways to reduce the effects of violence on children.

CSVAC was a recent recipient of one of 10 Community Treatment and Services Center grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant, which is designed to promote and evaluate effective treatment systems in community and youth-oriented settings, provided the new center with $1.6 million over a four-year period to promote CSVAC's enhanced network systems for clinical, methodological, policy, financing and training issues. Likewise, the grant officially establishes CSVAC as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

As a grant recipient, CSVAC used this federal funding to establish the Child and Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Training Institute, which provides clinical training and information on 'best practices' to child welfare programs throughout Kentucky to help children and their families recover from psychological trauma.

Story and image courtesy of UK Public Relations.