The CARES (Children Advancing Through Recovery and Empowerment Services) Project is a division of FSC’s Children’s Services Department. The CARES project provides counseling proven to effectively address symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, sexualized behaviors, and feelings of shame and mistrust often displayed in children exposed to trauma. CARES Project staff are licensed therapists trained to provide various forms of evidenced-based therapies (TF-CBT, CFTSI, etc.).
The project is designed to meet the needs of children and youth ages 3-18. Most treatment models consist of 12-16 sessions; however, the number of sessions can be tailored to meet the needs of the child. Treatment is offered at no cost to the victim or their family.
Services are available for children who have witnessed or experienced:
- Family violence
- Sexual abuse
- Child abuse
- Sex and/or labor trafficking
- Community violence
- Traumatic grief involving the death of a caregiver or sibling
Research shows that the impact of trauma on children can have lifelong effects. Repeated exposure to violence and subsequent trauma can impact a young person’s health, ability to succeed in school, their likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence, and overall, their opportunity to stay on the right track.
Click here for more information on effects of domestic violence on children.
Trauma is an event or situation that causes great distress and fear and is so overwhelming that it exceeds a person’s normal ability to cope. Trauma is an abnormal experience which may cause reactions in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors including avoiding things that trigger a memory, losing control of emotions, feelings of confusion, becoming easily startled, and sleep disturbances or nightmares.
Have you noticed the following behaviors?
- Decreased attention and/or concentration
- Increased activity level
Change in academic performance
- Irritability with friends, teachers, events
- Angry outbursts and/or aggressive behavior
- Withdrawal from others or activities
- Increased somatic complaints (headaches, stomachaches, chest pains)
- Repeated discussion of event and focus on specific details of what happened
- Over- or under-reacting to bells, physical contact, doors slamming, sirens, lighting, sudden movements
- Re-experiencing the trauma (nightmares or disturbing memories during the day)
- Hyperarousal (sleep disturbance, tendency to be easily startled)
- Avoidance behaviors (resisting going to places that remind them of the event)
- Emotional numbing (seeming to lack feeling about the event)
Trauma can impact school performance.
- Decreased GPAs
- Increased rate of school absences
- Increased tendency to drop-out
- Increased suspensions and expulsions
- Decreased reading ability
Trauma can impair learning. Chronic exposure to traumatic events, especially during a child’s early years, can:
- Adversely affect attention, memory, and cognition
- Reduce a child’s ability to focus, organize, and process information
- Interfere with effective problem solving and/or planning
- Result in overwhelming feelings of frustration and anxiety.
Traumatized children may experience physical and emotional distress. Intense reactions to reminders of their traumatic event include:
- Thinking others are violating their personal space
- Blowing up when being corrected or told what to do by an authority figure
- Fighting when criticized or teased by others
- Resisting transition and/or change