Category: Child / Adolescent - Trauma / Maltreatment
Despite continued calls for the dissemination of evidence-based treatments to community mental health, usual care in the community does not often reflect the advancements made in research settings. Controlled studies have demonstrated that usual community services demonstrate little, if any, effectiveness. There are numerous difficulties associated with transporting interventions from research to community settings, such as agency atmosphere, clinician buy-in, and reimbursement issues, among other factors. Moreover, an estimated 80% of children with clinically significant mental health issues go without services. Innovative methods of increasing accessibility and reducing barriers to evidence-based care, such as cognitive-behavioral interventions, is necessary, particularly among children of diverse backgrounds and low socio-economic status, who are disproportionately affected by health care service disparities. Given that on average school-age children spend over 30 hours a week in school, school-based prevention and targeted intervention may be one way of increasing access and reducing barriers to care among underserved children. The present study seeks to evaluate a school-based prevention program for trauma among elementary school-aged children within a school district serving a high percentage of low-income students (43% eligible for free or reduced lunch). Student demographics are as follows: 47% Caucasian, 37% Latino/a, 7% Asian, 6% Multiracial, 2% Black, 1% American Indian. The program includes both universal prevention and targeted intervention elements, such as staff trainings on trauma-informed care as well as classroom and individual-level intervention by a behavioral specialist using cognitive-behavioral techniques. At three time points across the academic year (fall, winter, and spring), researchers will examine changes in the number of behavioral incidents warranting referral to the office, suicide screenings, health room visits, referrals to the school behavior specialist, as well as student and staff absenteeism in six pilot schools as compared to six wait-list control schools. It is hypothesized that compared to wait-list control schools, schools piloting the trauma program will demonstrate decreased rates of behavioral incidents, health room visits, suicide screenings, and student and staff absenteeism, along with increased referrals to the behavior specialist for targeted intervention. Results will inform improvement of the pilot program under investigation as well as contribute to the growing literature on school-based prevention programs among children.
Pacific University Oregon