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Recap: Leveraging North Carolina's Assets to Prevent Child Trauma

When a child experiences physical or emotional trauma, the distress felt in the present moment signifies the beginning of a potential cascade of effects. Whether a onetime event, such as a natural disaster or the death of a parent, or ongoing, such as neglect or abuse at home or discrimination, trauma increases a child’s risk for a host of lifelong physical and mental health problems.

To address issues of child trauma, in April 2023, the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child

Development Institute (FPG) sponsored a statewide summit, Leveraging North

Over 350 representatives from academia, community and state organizations, lived experience, philanthropy, government agencies, and governing bodies attended the hybrid event.

The overarching goal of the summit was to identify common threads across constituent groups in North Carolina, each working to address child trauma, and determine how, together, we can co-create a statewide effort in community and policy spaces to tackle its sources and reduce its incidence.

Organizers and participants agree we can achieve this by:

  • sharing knowledge and experience about child trauma, its causes, and its prevention;

  • bolstering community efforts through a shared understanding of trauma science;

  • creating new relationships between individuals and organizations and strengthening existing relationships

  • illuminating the current landscape of child trauma prevention across North Carolina communities to help assess strengths and gaps

  • beginning to generate policy recommendations to prevent child trauma

Next steps are a series of articles on key topics raised during the summit, which will be posted on the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) website.

They will also work on a set of specific policy recommendations to share with the General Assembly, state agencies, and local officials, as well as future webinars, meetings, and a task force to co-develop a statewide action plan for North Carolina for maximal impact.


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