Public Health Management Corporation subsidiary Joseph J. Peters Institute (JJPI), a nonprofit that helps individuals and families dealing with the effects of trauma, in collaboration with Strawberry Mansion: A Sanctuary for Hope (SMASH), have been awarded a two-year, nearly $200,000 grant from Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). This grant allows JPPI to provide community-based Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) to children and adolescents (ages 3-17) residing in the 22nd Police District of North Philadelphia who have been victimized by violence or have experienced other types of trauma.
“TF-CBT is a proven evidence-based program that helps children and adolescents heal from exposure to violence and other types of trauma,” said Ivan Haskell, Ph.D., JJPI Executive Director and grant program manager. “This funding allows our team to better serve an area of the city that has a great need and has traditionally been underserved, and it will help to provide care for more than 100 children and adolescents over the course of the next two years.”
Over the next two years, JJPI will work in collaboration with SMASH to help Strawberry Mansion and adjacent North Philadelphia communities reduce the impact of community violence by increasing the accessibility of TF-CBT. The goal of creating this community-based program is to reduce or eliminate barriers to treatment, increase treatment engagement, and to improve the chances of treatment completion regardless of income, ability to travel, and access to health insurance.
Philadelphia has the distinction of having one of the highest homicide and poverty rates among large U.S. cities. Since 2007, the 22nd district has accounted for 13 percent of the city’s homicides and in 2012, it accounted for 12.7 percent of the city’s shooting victims. It also represented 11 percent of the city’s aggravated assaults with a gun, and in 2013 and 2014, had the highest number of murder victims in the city of all police districts.
“A key part of this program is the involvement of the children’s parents or guardians, said Natalie Dallard, JJPI Director of Prevention, Community Outreach, and Training. “And while we are directly addressing the child’s trauma, we also have an opportunity to help the whole family heal.”
TF-CBT works to reduce the impact of trauma on children’s well-being (socially and emotionally) and health while also helping to improve children’s performance in school. For the 75-80 children who are anticipated to complete all 16 weeks of the TF-CBT program, it is expected that there will be a significant decrease in trauma symptoms (such as avoidance, nightmares, anxiety, and mood problems) and a subsequent improvement in acting-out behaviors at home and at school. The program is currently being offered at 1801 Diamond St, Philadelphia (Church of the Advocate), with additional locations being planned for the year ahead.