Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center (TAG) is the recipient of a $1 million grant from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund to support the recently-created Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center. Earlier this year, experts from Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center partnered with the Gulf Coast Center, and others in the Santa Fe community, to create the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center, in the aftermath of the Santa Fe tragedy, to provide mental health services to those impacted by the recent shooting.
This $1 million VOCA grant will help support the Centers’ ongoing efforts for the next 18 months. Texas Children’s will use these funds to hire five trauma- and grief-informed therapist and train them in the relevant assessment and interventions most needed by the students and families in this community. The team will also provide ongoing consultation and support to the therapists at the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center, as well as school counselors across Santa Fe Independent School District.
“This will be a community in need for many years and we are thrilled to receive this funding which will help us provide much-needed services and support for the children and families of the Santa Fe community,” said Dr. Julie Kaplow, director of the Trauma and Grief Center at Texas Children’s. “We know there are long-term psychological impacts to those exposed to traumatic events, including posttraumatic stress and maladaptive grief reactions, especially if access to ongoing support from trauma- and grief-informed clinicians is limited.”
Most of these newly-hired therapists will be deployed directly to Santa Fe High School to assess and provide trauma- and grief-informed intervention to the most affected and exposed students. Though most clinicians will be at Santa Fe High School, the team will also be present at other schools throughout Santa Fe ISD where some of the more highly-impacted students, including those who lost siblings or very close friends, attend school. The goal is to address the unique needs of those most highly-exposed to this tragedy in a convenient setting, where they are most likely to access care (i.e., school).
In addition to these supplemental resources, experts at Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center plan to host at least two large-scale trainings for community- and school-based clinicians. These trainings will be open to anyone who might be called upon to serve the needs of the community by caring for and treating impacted children and adolescents.
“It is important to note that symptoms of posttraumatic stress may not emerge until at least six months following a traumatic event and grief reactions can and do endure for long periods of time” added Kaplow, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “For this reason, we anticipate the demand for trauma- and grief-informed mental health services, will only increase. We are extremely grateful for the current funding, and will continue to seek support for our programs to effectively address the ongoing needs of this community for years to come.”
Intervention teams from Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center were deployed following the tragic events of May 18, providing support and crisis management to those students, teachers and families impacted. These services and interventions, which are being made possible through government support, come at no cost to the families and insurance is not required.
Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center, part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, is the only program of its kind in the country that specializes in the dissemination of developmentally-informed, group-based interventions for traumatically bereaved children and adolescents. This Center and its affiliated programs are dedicated to evidence-based assessment and intervention, treatment effectiveness and providing education to better address childhood trauma and grief.
Click here for more information on how to get involved.