Child Trauma

RISC came to the decision to focus on mental health during our Community Problems Assembly in October, 2016. Since then, we have focused on addressing child trauma because we have seen the effects it has on the future of our community. 

In Chesterfield County, increases in youth suicide, school dropouts and fights, and youth arrests point to a deeper problem—growing prevalence of traumatic experiences like abuse, domestic violence, poverty, and community violence.

  • In 2015, 155 children in the county were severely abused.
  • There were 6,000 domestic abuse cases in 2015, an increase of nearly 1,000 over 2 years.
  • Chesterfield children are twice as likely to live in poverty today as 15 years ago. Overall, 1 in 11 children live in poverty. Some populations are disproportionately affected—1 in 5 Latino children live in poverty.

All of these experiences are shown by national Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) studies to be potentially traumatic. Experiencing traumatic events between the ages of 0-18 has been linked to lapses in normal brain development and long-term problems with mental health, learning, and behavior.

We got commitments from the Chesterfield County Public Schools superintendent’s office to respond to a growing number of children who have experienced trauma by identifying and implementing an evidence-based trauma response training for school staff.


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