Kennedy Krieger Institute and University of Maryland Receive $2.9 Million Grant to Implement Antiracist, Trauma-Informed Training

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BALTIMORE, January 5, 2022Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress (CCFTS) and the University of Maryland School of Social Work received a $2.9 million grant to create the Collective for Antiracist Child and Family Systems (CACFS), a program that will provide support and training in antiracist, anti-oppressive practices to more than 2,000 Maryland service providers working to repair the impacts of trauma among Black and Latinx children, youth, and families.

“This grant provides an opportunity to help organizations adopt intentional antiracist practices, policies and procedures that will help traumatized children and families resist and thrive—rather than just recover and survive,” said Elizabeth A. Thompson, PhD, CCFTS director and vice president of Kennedy Krieger’s Department of Family and Community Interventions. Dr. Thompson is the principal investigator and director of the project.

The money, provided through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, will be awarded over five years’ time. SAMHSA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

CACFS staff plan to train, educate and provide technical assistance to social workers and mental health clinicians, supervisors, and administrators from at least 40 child- and family-serving organizations and systems, including child welfare agencies. In addition, staff will implement an awareness campaign using social media, video messages, and a website that promote culturally responsive and racially conscious approaches to healing trauma.

Staff also will create a 16-member CACFS Advisory Board to engage parents, family members, and youth to develop and oversee CACFS plans. This includes helping organizations increase their readiness for adopting practices, policies, and strategic plans that centralize racial equity and healing.

This project will incorporate three race-conscious trauma interventions and work with psychology professors at the Immigration, Critical Race and Cultural Equity (IC-RACE) Lab in Chicago, IL, whose leaders developed two of these interventions.

The program has the potential to make both immediate and long-term progress in communities that have faced health disparities, Dr. Thompson said.

“This tremendous partnership brings together three organizations with the expertise and training to assist providers in the field who are working with families impacted significantly by racism, trauma, and inequities,’ said Brad Schlaggar, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute. “We are eager to begin work with our partners on this critically important initiative, to provide this much-needed training to mental health clinicians across the state of Maryland, and to be a model for programs throughout the country.”


About Kennedy Krieger Institute:
Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally known nonprofit organization located in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, transforms the lives of more than 25,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient medical, behavioral health and wellness therapies; home and community services; school-based programs; training and education for professionals; and advocacy. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults with diseases, disorders and injuries that impact the nervous system, ranging from mild to severe. The Institute is home to a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Visit for more information about Kennedy Krieger.     

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