Keeping Children Safe

Keeping Children Safe:

A Program to Help Children Cope with Community Violence

Principal Investigator:
Annette M. La Greca, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL

Project Coordinators:
Lissette Perez, Ph.D. and Alissa Glickman, M.S.

Funding provided by the BellSouth Foundation

n recent years, media coverage of devastating disasters, shootings, as well as bombings and terrorist activities has drawn attention to the significant trauma that children experience following such events. In fact, it has become increasingly apparent that children's exposure to traumatic events can lead to reactions that may interfere substantially with their day to day functioning, and cause them and their families significant distress. Specifically, exposure to natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes), to man-made disasters (e.g., terrorist bombs, sniper shootings, plane crashes), and to violence of a personal nature (e.g., physical and sexual abuse, community violence) represent traumatic events that result in increased signs of stress, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness in children. However, more information is needed about which children are most at risk for experiencing severe stress in response to community violence.

"Keeping Children Safe" is a prevention/intervention program that was developed to examine the effects of exposure to community violence and it's association with symptoms of posttraumatic stress in children.  This project consists of 3 phases that are described below.  The main goals of the project are:

  1. To evaluate the functioning of elementary school children following experiences of either witnessing or being a victim of community violence;
  2. To identify the factors that predict which children are most likely to be affected by exposure to community violence; and
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of a structured school-based intervention program in alleviating stress and promoting positive coping among children affected by community violence.

Keeping Children Safe Intervention Manual

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