Telegram & Gazette: New childhood trauma collaborative to be led by Commonwealth Medicine child and family policy expert

August 08, 2019

The Worcester Trauma and Resilience Collaborative, bringing together more than 50 local social service programs in the county to address childhood trauma, will be led by Audrey Smolkin, MPP, director of child and family policy at Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Medical School, according to an article in the Telegram & Gazette. Funding of $225,000 for this pilot program was included in state budget approved by Gov. Charlie Baker last week.

The collaborative is the result of a series of conversations between Smolkin and Senate President Emerita Harriette L. Chandler. Last September, the two worked together to convene a child and family trauma and resilience summit at UMass Medical School with local social service programs to develop ideas that became the foundation of the collaborative.

The pilot aims to lessen the impact of trauma in children and build resilience. A high rate of opioid use, incarcerations, school suspensions, and kids not graduating are among the negative outcomes that can affect children throughout their lives.

"So, preventing that kind of impact or building resilience for the child is really important. We came together and decided we wanted to do trainings on trauma and resilience for everybody that touches children and families in Worcester County. Which is, now upon reflection, incredibly ambitious,” Smolkin told the Telegram.

Participants in the collaborative will include the Children’s League of Massachusetts, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Girls Inc., and YMCA of Central Massachusetts. The program is anticipated to begin operations in the fall.

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