New Center Helps Kids Exposed to Domestic Violence

By: Nina Livingston, MD and Karen Jarmoc, MA

Children exposed to family violence often face lifelong negative consequences, including physical and psychological impairments that compromise their optimal healthy development and present a serious public health concern.

This is a challenging public health and societal problem we are committed to addressing.

To that end, we have launched The Children’s Center on Family Violence (the Center), with generous support from Verizon Wireless. The Center is a partnership between the Connecticut Children’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect program, the Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Center is based at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and is part of the Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health, which focuses on promoting the optimal healthy development of all children.

The Center is dedicated to improving outcomes for children who are impacted by family violence. The Center’s overarching goal is to engage the various systems that respond to these children and work with them to advance research and evaluation; promote evidence-based best practices through education and training; and strengthen policy at agency, state and federal levels.

The Center is uniquely positioned to advance and fortify policy and practice for children exposed to family violence here in the state of Connecticut and nationally. We intend to not only increase awareness about the impact that exposure to family violence has on children, but we also plan to develop better strategies which build resiliency for children and families experiencing domestic violence.

As part of our launch, we recently hosted a daylong training session for advocates, law enforcement, private attorneys and medical service providers. The training provided an overview of the impact that exposure to domestic violence has on child and adolescent development and functioning. It also offered attendees with new strategies for helping affected children. Participation in the training exceeded our projected attendee goals and evaluations indicate that attendees left with a stronger working knowledge of how exposure to domestic violence can affect a child.

We look forward to further opportunities to engage with our community partners in the future as we work to improve outcomes for children impacted by family violence.

Nina Livingston, MD, is the medical director of the Connecticut Children’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect program. Karen Jarmoc, MA, is the CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Both serve as co-directors of The Children’s Center on Family Violence.

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