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Child Trauma in Public Sector Focus of Symposium

Sessions to cover the latest research and policies from early childhood through adolescence

CHICAGO --- Best practices in Illinois for young children exposed to trauma and violence, trauma and delinquency, and funding trauma treatment are just a few of the workshops that will be conducted at the “Symposium on Child Trauma in the Public Sector” Thursday and Friday, May 31 and June 1, at Northwestern University School of Law, 375 E. Chicago Ave., Thorne Auditorium.

The symposium is hosted by the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Northwestern University School of Law; Children’s Memorial Hospital; and the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition. Led by physicians, psychologists, attorneys, social workers and other practitioners, the clinical, legal and policy-related sessions will cover the latest research and policies from early childhood through adolescence. 

“The symposium is a unique venture that emphasizes the importance of understanding the lifetime effects of child trauma,” said Eugene Griffin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern’s Feinberg School. 

Bruce D. Perry, founder of the ChildTrauma Academy and an adjunct professor at Feinberg, will present an overview on child trauma at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, May 31, and Bryan Samuels, commissioner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families, will present “Addressing Trauma and Promoting Social and Economic Well-Being: Federal Perspectives and Policies” at 2:45 p.m.

On Friday, June 1, at 10:45 a.m., three panelists James Garbarino, the Maude C. Clark Chair in Humanistic Psychology, Loyola University Chicago; Eddie Bocanegra, outreach worker, CeaseFire; and Jessica Feierman, supervising attorney, Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, will discuss the innovative community programs and legal advocacy strategies they are developing to help at-risk and court-involved youth suffering from traumatic stress. 

“By keeping the focus on children in the public sector, we hope to use the experts’ recommendations to improve our child-serving systems here in Illinois and possibly develop a national model,” said Griffin, who is a principal investigator of several research projects at the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Feinberg.

Other issues that will be addressed at the symposium include policy implications for trauma work across age groups, collaborative models in Illinois for school-age children and interviewing traumatized child clients and witnesses. 

For more information, including a complete schedule and registration instructions, visit

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