Durbin, Duckworth Announce $2 Million In Federal Funding To Address Violence, Support Trauma-Informed Care In Chicago

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced a total of $2 million in federal funding to help address trauma and the cycle of violence in Chicago. The funding, which was awarded by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), will support four Chicago initiatives aimed at expanding and improving trauma-informed care for youth who have been exposed to community violence.

Too many kids in Chicago carry the burden of trauma and too often, there’s not a helping hand for them to cope and thrive. To help break the cycle of violence, I’ve made it a priority to increase funding and improve access to services for children and families who experience trauma,” Durbin said. I’m proud that Chicago is receiving this federal support, which will help local organizations continue their important work to address trauma and violence in our communities.”

“Too often, we see young people, particularly young people of color, struggle with violence in their communities,” Duckworth said. “Our nation’s children deserve to feel safe and have opportunities to reach their full potential—and trauma-informed, community-based and equity-centered treatment as well as services can help. I’m proud to join Senator Durbin in announcing federal funding to help address community violence in Chicago and help its young people and families process, heal and thrive.”

Durbin has led efforts in Congress for years to increase funding for NCTSN through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which provides grants to community organizations and universities to improve trauma-informed care.  As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Durbin has helped to increase the program’s funding every year since 2016, and in 2018 secured a $17 million increase of its annual funding authorization.  Last month, Durbin and Duckworth introduced the Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act, which would further increase funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma and expand the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system.

Under today’s announcement, the following organizations and projects have been awarded funding to deliver trauma-informed screenings, case management, and therapy to children who have been exposed to trauma and violence, as well as conduct trainings to educate youth-serving providers on how to prevent and support individuals and families that have experienced trauma.  Collectively, this federal funding will provide evidence-based trauma services to more than 2,000 children and families, and train more than 5,500 frontline health, child welfare, juvenile justice, and community-based leaders:

  • La Rabida Children’s Hospital’s Chicago Child Trauma Center: $400,000
  • Northwestern University’s Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Systems Integration: $600,000
  • University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Youth Trauma Center’s Innovative Guidance for Neighborhood Initiatives for Trauma-Informed Effectiveness (IGNITE) project: $600,000
  • University of Illinois at Chicago’s Service-partners Promoting Awareness, Resilience, and Knowledge-based Solutions (SPARKS) project: $400,000

“Generations of systemic racism, economic disadvantages, segregation and implicit biases are some of the things that have contributed to worse health outcomes and shorter lifespans among Black, Latinx, and other people of color in Chicago. Exposure to trauma contributes significantly to these disparities,” said Theresa Valach, Clinical Director of La Rabida Children’s Hospital Chicago Child Trauma Center. “This important funding will help us increase our capacity to provide treatment options to children and families in our community who have experienced trauma. These programs help reduce the chances for re-traumatization and create a path for healing and growth across our community, while also helping people approach conversations from a place of acceptance, safety, and positivity.”

“We have seen firsthand how the cycle of trauma, including violence and oppression, can impact children, families and communities,” said Cassandra Kisiel, director of  Northwestern University’s Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Systems Integration. “We are grateful for this SAMHSA funding, which allows us to continue our work in supporting the development of trauma-informed, juvenile justice and child welfare systems in Illinois and nationally, with a particular emphasis on youth who are at increased risk of interpersonal violence, complex trauma and systemic racism.”

“This federal SAMHSA support will help us continue the work of the Urban Youth Trauma Center in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to expand workforce training, evidence-based services, and access to care for youth impacted by traumatic exposure to community violence with behavioral and substance abuse problems,” said Dr. Liza Suarez and Dr. Jaleel K. Abdul-Adil, co-directors of UIC’s Urban Youth Trauma Center.  “The IGNITE project will help us continue specialized training, education and consultation for youth providers on prevention and intervention, and the SPARKS project will allow us to increase direct services for youth, families in clinical and community settings.”