Building the Buffering


Building the Buffering:

A Series on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing


Children who experience trauma over the course of their lives have reactions that can persist and affect their daily lives long after the traumatic event(s) have ended. Reactions to trauma can include intense and ongoing emotional upset, depressive symptoms or anxiety, behavioral changes, difficulties with self-regulation, problems relating to others or forming attachments, regression or loss of previously acquired skills, attention and academic difficulties. Older children may use drugs or alcohol, behave in risky ways, or engage in unhealthy sexual activity.


This series explores child trauma and resilience by examining brain science, caregiving relationships, and clinical support systems with a special focus on the unique difficulties faced by children in foster care. The live virtual series is being offered for legislators and their staff only.


Click here to learn more about Encompass: Community & Collaboration for Foster Families — a brand new foster parent support model led by MSPCC and The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.


Check back at the end of each month for a video recording of each session.


Part One: Brain Development 

Date: September 27th, 2021

Presenter: Heather Forkey, MD, Chief, Division of Child Protection, Clinical Director, Foster Children Evaluation Service, UMass Memorial Health Care

How can Disney’s blockbuster movie “Frozen”  help us understand the expanding evidence from molecular biology, genomics, immunology, neuroscience links the early experience of adversities with subsequent impacts on health, development, academic achievement, productivity and mental illness?   This session explores how some children may grow as dandelions while others grow like orchids — taking into consideration how trauma impacts the developing brain, how children can be impacted and protected, and the challenges of preventing and recognizing the effect of trauma on children. If you are a policy maker or a parent who cares for and advocates for children — this session is for you, because childhood experience is not destiny. 


Part Two: Supporting Caregiver & Relational Resilience

Date: October 18th, 2021

Presenters: Heather Forkey, MD, Chief, Division of Child Protection, Clinical Director, Foster Children Evaluation Service, UMass Memorial Health Care

Aditi Subramaniam LMHC, R-DMT, IECMH-E®: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Partnership Manager, MSPCC

The session will build upon the first session and will focus on developing shared understanding on how trauma impacts parenting, both the neurobiology and the relational aspects of parenting AND will discuss models/tools of support for parents to help with healing and building resilience with their children. 


Part Three: Models of Support: Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Medication

Date: November 5th, 2021

Presenter: Wynne Morgan, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Foster Children Evaluation Service, Umass Memorial Health Care, Consulting Psychiatrist. MA Department of Children and Families

Children who experience trauma including DCF involved children are at risk for poor health outcomes, and increase rates of mental illness. However, this population often has difficulty accessing the medical and mental health services they need. At the same time, once youth do access services, they are often fragmented, placing them at risk for inappropriate prescribing for psychosis, lack of psychosocial supports, and poor monitoring. This session will focus on the appropriate use of psychotropic medication to support this population. 

Part Four: Models of Support: Evidence Based Approaches

Date: To be announced

Presenter: Jessica Griffin Psy.D. Executive Director, Child Trauma Training Center and Resilience Through Relationships Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Investment of public resources in supporting the wellbeing of children is vital and even in good times need often exceeds available resources. Legislators play an important role in ensuring that state funding supports programs that are likely to achieve the desired outcomes. This session will provide participants with an understanding of what it means when an approach to promotion, prevention, or intervention is “evidence-based” or “evidence-informed,” how to know and why it matters. 

Part Five: Models of Support: Peer Professional Models

Date: To be announced

This session is in development

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