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The Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) was founded in 1911 as part of the Yale University School of Medicine. The YCSC brings together multiple disciplines--including child psychiatry, pediatrics, genetics, neurobiology, epidemiology, psychology, nursing, social work and social policy--to further understand the problems of children and families. The mission of the Center is to improve the mental health of children and families, advance understanding of their psychological and developmental needs, and treat and prevent childhood mental illness through the integration of research, clinical practice, and professional training.

In 1991, the Yale Child Study Center Trauma Section, in partnership with the City of New Haven and the New Haven Department of Police Service, launched the Child Development‐Community Policing (CD‐CP) Program, a unique collaboration of mental health and law enforcement professionals dedicated to providing joint responses to children and families exposed to violence in their homes and neighborhoods.

Since its inception, the CD‐CP Program has operated continuously in the City of New Haven and has broadened the reach of mental health interventions with traumatized children, families, and communities, both in New Haven, across the country and internationally. With previous support of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the CD-CP model has been replicated in numerous communities throughout the country.

In 1999, in recognition of this work, the Yale Child Study Center Trauma Section was designated the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence by the White House and the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. As the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, the Trauma Section played a leadership role in advancing knowledge and practice in the area of law enforcement-mental health collaborations through Safe Start Initiative sites through the country, maintained a state-of-the-art clearinghouse for information on research relating to the effects of childhood exposure to violence and factors associated with resiliency and provided public awareness on the effects of childhood trauma and violence

As a result of several years of talks involving Donald Cohen, Steven Marans, and other leading figures in the field of trauma, the Trauma Section became a founding member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative and joined the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as the Yale Yale Center for Traumatic Stress and Recovery. In honor of Dr. Cohen’s leadership, legislation was introduced in Congress by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Joseph Lieberman to designate this new network the Donald J. Cohen National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative.

Since 2001, the Yale Center for Traumatic Stress and Recovery, formerly known as the Childhood Violent Trauma Center, has been a major contributor to the development and dissemination of early interventions and collaborative responses to childhood trauma. In addition to contributions that emerged from over a decade of experience with the Child Development–Community Policing program and associated trauma section activities, a new, evidence-based early intervention addressing the needs of traumatized children and families--The Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention--was developed by the YCTSR and introduced to the NCTSN and to clinicians around the country. Today the YCTSR offers a range of treatment interventions, research and training programs aimed at helping children, adolescents and families who are struggling with traumatic reactions and disorders and for professionals working in the field.