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A smiling adult in a colorful, kid-friendly space holds two pieces of paper up to a child, one with a smiling face drawn on it and the other with a frowning face

Under the SNF Global Health Initiative Mental Health pillar, SNF has launched a new partnership with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) to expand access to trauma therapy for children who have been victims of abuse.

NCA is a national association and accrediting body for a network of nearly a thousand Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) across the United States, which provide integrated care and support for children who have been victims of abuse.

Each year, about 285 thousand children served by CACs need specialized mental health treatment – but about 80 thousand of them don’t get access to the services they need. A key barrier is the lack of therapists trained to provide evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment. SNF is supporting NCA’s vital efforts to close this gap.

Over the next five years (2023-2027), SNF will support NCA’s efforts to develop and roll out a new national training program for an evidence-based trauma-focused therapy known as Child & Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI). CFTSI is a treatment specifically designed for children ages 7 to 18, together with their caregivers, which has been shown through rigorous studies to significantly reduce symptoms of traumatic stress.

Expanding access to CFTSI therapy will help to reduce the likelihood of children developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a case of abuse. CFTSI involves only 5 to 8 sessions – this brief and early intervention enables more children to access essential therapy as soon as possible after a traumatic event, transition smoothly to longer-term therapy when needed, and makes it more likely for children to successfully complete treatment. This training program is expected to help reduce waitlists so that more children get the therapy they need without potentially harmful delays that could impact their long-term wellbeing.

NCA aims to train 1,000 clinicians and to reach up to 44 thousand children by the end of the five-year period. Beyond 2027, NCA estimates that these 1,000 newly trained clinicians will reach an additional 25 thousand children per year. NCA will also develop resources that help clinicians deliver CFTSI via teletherapy to further enhance access and flexibility.

SNF’s support kick-starts this crucial program and allows NCA to train a large number of clinicians within five years. NCA plans to sustain the program beyond 2027, enabling additional therapists to deliver CFTSI, closing this critical care gap, and helping more children heal.