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Psychological Responses to Violence Among Children

Despite declines in reports of violent crimes, urban areas that are predominantly Latino or African-American continue to have high rates. In Los Angeles, 87% of homicide victims were Latino or African American. Among 6th graders in a predominantly minority Los Angeles middle school, 40% were exposed to knife or gun violence in the prior year, while half of children in the LA Foster Care study had such exposure in six months. The negative sequelae of such exposure include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); depression; delinquent behavior; and impaired functioning. Yet, victimized youth seldom receive mental health services. While effective treatments for PTSD exist for adults there are few for children. Our network has one effective approach for traumatized children in LAUSD.

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