NYU Child Study Center receives grant from the American Red Cross September 11 recovery program


NEW YORK, February 23, 2005 The NYU Child Study Center is pleased to announce the creation of the Silver Shield Life Enrichment & Continued Care Program which will be offered to widows and children of firefighters, policemen, emergency medical service and port authority personnel whose lives were lost as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. This project was supported by a September 11 recovery grant from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund. The program offers a new emphasis on life enrichment programming for bereaved parents as well as continued screening of children at key life transition points.

Following 9/11, both the Child Study Center and the Silver Shield Foundation recognized the need to address the mental health needs of the children bereaved by the loss of a parent on September 11th to ensure educational and other life success in the long-term. With initial funding from the Silver Shield Foundation received in February 2002, the Child Study Center developed a comprehensive outreach, assessment and intervention program to offer counseling services to approximately 500 children and adolescents and their families.

"In our research and work during the past 3 years it has become clear that the children in these families are often functioning much better than their caregivers," said Marylene Cloitre, Ph.D., Cathy and Stephen Graham Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of the Institute for Trauma and Stress at the NYU Child Study Center. "In fact, the mothers who are participating in the program are experiencing levels of distress two times higher than national norms." Cloitre added, "Studies show that symptom severity in children is strongly associated with maternal mental health problems. This September 11 recovery grant from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund will allow the Child Study Center to help promote the mental health of the mothers which is critical to ensuring sustained recovery of the children in the long term."

With the support of this recovery grant the Child Study Center will be able to address persistent needs of children of uniformed personnel and their caregivers as well as provide surviving parents with tools to serve as active, responsive parents and to develop coping skills that allow them to manage their own grief and distress. The 8-week Life Enrichment Program is designed to help decrease distress, increase energy and confidence, improve parent-child relationships and decrease child distress. In addition, the program will increase the social support for surviving spouses as they manage their family members and, in many cases, introduce new family members.

"We know from experience that recovering from any kind of disaster is a lengthy journey that requires patience and perseverance," said Alan Goodman, September 11 Recovery Program Executive Director, "Through programs run by established community agencies such as the NYU Child Study Center, these grants allow us to support victims during a healing process that can continue even after the visible signs of this disaster are gone."

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