Behavioral Health for Childhood Trauma Recovery: Supporting New Hampshire Children and Families at Child Advocacy Centers



HNH Foundation


United States

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When police or child protective services in New Hampshire believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) for a forensic interview to gather evidence of suspected abuse to inform the multi-disciplinary team. There has been a 30% increase in cases since 2013 with nearly 2,300 served in 2016. These children receive a continuum of services. Many, but not all, will be formally interviewed by a professional trained forensic interviewer. If abuse is disclosed, then a child is referred for a mental health assessment for needed therapeutic services. Unfortunately, a child who does not disclose abuse may not receive the same level of follow-up care. Many vulnerable children are not receiving comprehensive treatment.

This project aimed to prioritize areas of need to bolster New Hampshire’s capacity to provide behavioral health services to support trauma recovery for children who have experienced abuse. To achieve the project goals, JSI employed the following strategies:

  • Convened an advisory panel to inform research processes and engaged local advocacy leaders to facilitate discussions. 
  • Performed an environmental scan to identify current assets and gaps in the state’s behavioral health system for children in trauma recovery.
  • Conducted interviews with programs across the country to identify promising practices of behavioral health services in a CAC model.
  • Developed a final report that identified assets, gaps, and opportunities, and offered recommendations to inform the advisory panel’s ongoing work. 


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