This page provides information on two intervention programs for children
exposed to violence. One program is designed for school-age
children. The other is designed for preschool-age
children. Click here
if you are interested in obtaining complete copies of the intervention programs.
This page also provides details on how to arrange for training in these intervention programs.
The Kids* Club:
Research studies have shown that individual children respond differently to witnessing interpersonal violence, from those who develop major psychological disorders and post traumatic stress symptoms, to those who appear resilient and unaffected immediately after exposure to violence. Generally, it is believed that most children who witness violence, including the battering of their mothers, are at-risk for developing emotional and social problems as they grow older. For example, children who observe interpersonal violence are considered to be at-risk for learning that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and that power determines behavior in relationships, including dating relationships. Further, many children tend to blame themselves for violence in the family, which is clearly out of their control. Others may put themselves at-risk for harm during the violent episodes by trying to intervene, while others develop fears and worries about the behavior of important people in the family. Yet there is often little opportunity to discuss their perceptions, worries, and fears, or to get new information about how to think about and to cope with violence in their lives.
The Kids* Club intervention program was designed to provide a supportive
arena for children ages 6 to 13 to share their experiences, to learn that
they are not alone in their exposure to violence, and to identify sources
of worry and concern. Additional goals are to discuss conflict and its
resolution, the responsibility for violence, and to learn new strategies
for problem solving and coping with violence exposure. Group activities
designed to identify strengths of families, gender and ethnicity are included.
The childrenís groups allow for discussion of the specifics of violence
in the family only after relationships between the group leaders and other
participants are well established. Most activities address family violence
through displacement - that is by using stories, films, drawings, puppet
plays, etc. This method is comfortable for most children because it allows
them to react openly to the issues without the pressure to discuss their
own particular family. Moms meet in a separate group to share their parenting
experiences, concerns, and support. At this point more than 600 families
have been part of The Kids* Club intervention. A program for time limited
groups is described in this manual and outlined in the pages below:
Fostering Resilience in Young Children
Exposed to Violence:
All children deserve a safe and supportive family environment in which to grow and develop. However, many young children are disproportionately exposed to violence in their families and communities. Given their limited capacity to understand these upsetting events, young children are thought to be most at-risk for developing problems following exposure to violence. Children who witness violence deserve support, understanding, and the chance to make sense of these painful and difficult experiences in their lives. Children can do so in a supportive and safe environment with other children who have had similar experiences. This sharing and validation of a child's worries and concerns can provide an aspect of healing that is not available from other types of individual therapy or whole family intervention formats.
The Preschool Kids* Club Program was designed as a friendly and fun group intervention that helps children who were exposed to violence:
Three to six-year old children come together in a small groups, have snacks, do creative projects or just listen. There are 10 sessions set up with activities that preschool-age children enjoy, including making masks, puppets, drawings, reading books, and playing games. Moms meet in a separate group to share their parenting experiences, concerns, and support. Additional information about this program and examples of group activities are shown in the slides below:
Click here if you are interested in intervention training.