Yale Program That Tackles Youth Violence Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Child Development - Community Policing Program (CD-CP) at the Yale Child Study Center will mark its 10th anniversary by hosting a conference of its national representatives and collaborating agencies that have worked to improve the response to children and families exposed to violence.

The conference will take place June 13 through June 15 in New Haven. The CD-CP Program replication sites consist of representatives and collaborating agencies from cities in Maryland, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Washington. They will meet to discuss domestic violence, acute crisis and trauma response, school crisis response and intervention, and other areas where violence affects children and their families.

Academic, clinical and police professionals will also commemorate the program’s service to the community. Keynote speakers include Deborah Smolover, director of the Children Exposed to Violence Initiative at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Steven Marans, the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychoanalysis in the Yale Child Study Center.

Founded by Marans and other researchers at the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine, the CD-CP Program is a unique community collaboration among law enforcement, juvenile justice, domestic violence advocates, medical and mental health professionals, school personnel, community agencies and others. Yale launched the first program in partnership with the City of New Haven and the New Haven Department of Police Service. The CD-CP Program has been replicated in over 10 communities across the country including Stamford, Guilford, Madison and Bridgeport in Connecticut.

Nationwide, about 3.9 million adolescents have been victims of a serious assault and almost nine million have witnessed serious violence.

“There are times when a trauma leaves family members feeling overwhelmed, frightened and helpless,” said Marans. “These times of acute crisis are opportunities for service providers to help children and families regain some degree of psychological order, to provide safety and security, and to ensure that child development is supported, not derailed.”

The CD-CP Program model has also led the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to establish The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) at the Yale Child Study Center in 1999. The NCCEV is a resource for information about the effects of violence on children and the initiatives designed to address this problem. It also provides training, technical assistance and consultation to community programs throughout the country, including the Safe Start Initiative and CD-CP replication sites.

“Research as well as our own first-hand experience indicates that early intervention in children’s lives supports positive development,” said Melvin H. Wearing, Chief, New Haven Department of Police Service. “Since our collaboration began with the Yale Child Study Center and the establishment of the CD-CP Program, we have been able to improve our response to children and to the violence to which they have been exposed. Our collaborative efforts are helping to break the cycle of crime and disorder. Our partnership has not only made a direct impact on the lives of the children and families we have serviced, but has enabled both police and mental health service providers to become better advocates for children.”

Central to the CD-CP Program is the round-the-clock acute response consultation service, where mental health professionals along with police respond to crises. Children and families exposed to violence and trauma are provided with clinical services at the scene of the incident, follow-up and referral for ongoing services.

The CD-CP Program also provides training to clinicians and police officers who intervene with children and families. For mental health professionals, Marans said, knowledge of the concerns and practices of police officers is essential to build their trust and develop effective intervention strategies. Fellowship program participants spend time observing with police colleagues in squad cars, police stations and on the streets. Late night “ride alongs” with officers on the beat provide a unique setting to form relationships, build teams and develop highly effective collaborative techniques. Clinicians come to understand the everyday challenges faced by officers.

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326