Dr. Kathrine Sullivan Leads Federally-Funded Partnership to Prevent Child Maltreatment
Being trauma-informed helps child welfare service providers to better address the consequences of child maltreatment, and NYU Silver School of Social Work Assistant Professor Kathrine Sullivan is spearheading a federally-funded partnership that will expand this expertise in New York City, in collaboration with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
Under a 5-year, $2.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the NY Child and Adolescent Maltreatment Prevention (CHAMP) Network will train hundreds of child welfare providers to meet the trauma-related needs of the children and families they serve. The partnership will include NYU Silver, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, ACS, and a network of non-profit organizations who are contracting with ACS to provide child welfare prevention services across the five boroughs. NYU Silver faculty who will be involved include Dr. Anne Dempsey, Clinical Associate Professor and Interim Assistant Dean, Practicum Education & Community Partnerships; and Dr. Diane Mirabito, Clinical Professor.
“Children and families receiving prevention services are highly likely to experience adverse outcomes related to trauma and are at risk of future maltreatment,” said Dr. Sullivan. “Prevention services providers need both evidenced-based processes and interventions that are trauma-informed in order to appropriately meet the needs of this population.”
Preparing a New Generation of Trauma-Informed Providers
In addition to funding the training of existing child welfare providers, the grant will also enable the establishment of the CHAMP Institute at NYU Silver to train 10 MSW students each year in trauma-informed care in order to prevent child maltreatment. As CHAMP Fellows, the students will receive stipends of $2,500 in their first year and $5,000 in their second year.
“As we train child welfare providers to identify and understand the effects of trauma on children and families, we must ensure that we are developing the pipeline of trauma-informed professionals who will enter the field,” said NYU Silver Dean Michael A. Lindsey. “We must also work to make educational opportunities accessible and affordable for students, which is why NYU Silver is excited about the stipends that the CHAMP Institute will provide.”
Strengthening Provider Capacity to Serve Traumatized Children
The CHAMP Network will serve nearly 1,000 unique children, parents, guardians, and providers each year across NYC's five boroughs. The initiative will be rigorously evaluated for its value as a model for improving child welfare prevention services across the U.S.
The network is built on a foundation laid by a collaboration ACS established in 2019 with three community agencies and the Center for Child Welfare Practice Innovation (CCWPI) at Grossman School of Medicine to provide services guided by the evidence-based Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) model for children and families receiving child welfare prevention services.
Providers will be trained in using Trauma Systems Therapy to intervene with traumatized children who are determined by ACS to be at risk for maltreatment. They will also be trained in the Never Look Away (NLA) and The Rhythm is My Blanket (RMB) curricula to improve their knowledge of the impact of complex trauma on youth development and their proficiency in avoiding racial bias in clinical practice.
Meanwhile, CHAMP Fellows will receive training in the same model and curricula. They will also receive practicum placements at CHAMP agencies, where they will provide Trauma Systems Therapy to families under the supervision of trained providers.
Dr. Sullivan’s collaborators on the project include Dr. Glenn Saxe, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Grossman School of Medicine and Director of CCWPI; Dr. Adam Brown, Assistant Clinical Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Grossman School of Medicine and Associate Director of the CCWPI; Drs. Dempsey and Mirabito; and agency leaders at Jewish Board for Family and Children’s Services, SCO Family of Services, and Forestdale.