Defending Childhood Initiative

Defending Childhood Logo

In September 2010, the Office of the United States Attorney General launched Defending Childhood, an initiative to address a national crisis: the exposure of America’s children to violence. The Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded grants to eight cities and tribal communities around the country to develop strategic plans for comprehensive community-based efforts that further demonstrated the goals of this initiative. Four sites, including Cuyahoga County, were selected to receive full implementation funding.

Cuyahoga County Defending Childhood Initiative (CCDCI) is a county-wide, comprehensive program that serves children between 0 and 17 years of age. While the CCDCI included a public awareness campaign, community outreach, neighborhood prevention programming, and a significant amount of trauma training for our child-serving agencies, the focus of the program consisted of three main areas: screening, assessment, and treatment.

An important aspect of the CCDCI is a robust outcome evaluation. The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education serves as the evaluation partner for the CCDCI project. Evaluation activities include the creation of a violence exposure and trauma screener, analysis of all screening, assessment, and treatment outcome data, participation in the DCI Core Management Team, and the dissemination of outcomes.

Research Team: Jeff Kretschmar (Principal Investigator), Daniel J. Flannery