AKRON, Ohio - Surveys suggest that by their 16th birthday, 67% of American children are exposed to at least one significant traumatic event.
Through a four year, $1.6 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Akron Children's Hospital is now better able to serve that population.
The hospital system is establishing the Center for the Treatment and Study of Adverse Childhood Events, a trauma-focused network of care that will improve access to treatment.
"The more bad things that happen to children, the more likely they are to have long term health effects from those. So, it is an important preventative measure for us to help with the psychological trauma piece so that we can have healthier citizens," said Melissa Peace with Akron Children's Hospital.
Through the grant, Akron Children's is able to join the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The collaboration will allow the hospital system to deliver research-based feedback to children who find themselves in a variety of traumatic situations ranging from domestic abuse to the death of a classmate to a school shooting.
"We would love to be out of business, but the reality is one in four children are traumatized. Trauma is going on every day. We have national tragedies like Sandy Hook happening. We have natural disasters that happen, natural disasters are going to create trauma in some children. So, bad things happen so we need to have a plan in place," Peace said.
A bulk of the grant money will be used to help train hospital staff.
Akron Children's will also working with local schools, juvenile court systems and child service agencies to create a consistent, community-based method of care.