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Children’s Trauma Initiative

Since 2008, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Children’s Trauma Initiative has provided training and coaching to Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSP) and their provider agencies in trauma screening, trauma assessment, trauma-specific treatment, and caregiver education.

The Initiative has trained clinicians and supervisors in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Caregiver Education since 2008. Beginning in 2018, training in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) was added. The Children’s Trauma Initiative has served the CMHSPs and their provider agencies in each of the 84 counties in Michigan. Learning Collaborative trainings are provided on a regular basis and CMHSP involvement is sought via communication to the CMHSP Program Directors and Prepaid Inpatient Health Program Directors.

The essential elements of the initiative are:

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Caregiver Education

The Caregiver Education Learning Collaborative utilizes the NCTSN Resource Parent Curriculum (officially titled Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents). It is an eight-module workshop designed to educate caregivers (biological or adoptive parents and foster parents) on the effects of trauma on the children in their care. The workshop is led by a clinical facilitator and a parent facilitator with lived experience raising a child who has been exposed to trauma. The caregiver education curriculum features activities in each module where caregivers apply the concepts learned to a child currently in their care. Each module also includes interactive group activities and discussions to promote shared learning.

Child-Parent Psychotherapy

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an evidence-based treatment for young children from birth through age 5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event and/or are experiencing mental health, attachment, and/or behavioral problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. CPP treatment is based in attachment theory but also integrates psychodynamic, developmental, trauma, social learning, and cognitive behavioral theories.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents, ages 3-18, impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple, and complex trauma experiences.

Trauma Screening and Assessment

Trauma Screening is designed to be administered to every child within a given system to determine whether that child has experienced trauma, displays symptoms related to trauma exposure, and/or should be referred for a comprehensive trauma-informed mental health assessment. Trauma Screening can include a particular tool or a more formalized process. Trauma Screening should evaluate the presence of two critical elements: (1) Exposure to potentially traumatic events/experiences, including traumatic loss, and (2) Traumatic stress symptoms/reactions.

Trauma Assessment training is provided to Community Mental Health Services Programs (or their provider agencies) clinicians and clinical supervisors to administer standardized assessment instruments (Young Child PTSD Checklist [YCPC], UCLA-PTSD 5) to assess children with serious emotional disturbance for trauma symptomatology, pre, mid, and post treatment.

Community Mental Health Services Programs are required to use, per the Trauma Policy, a culturally competent, standardized and validated screening tool appropriate for children during the intake process and other points as clinically appropriate.