Caring for traumatised children

Kids Alive International and the Kids Alive family rescue some of the world’s most vulnerable children, with each one having their own heart-rending story to tell. Many have suffered trauma, which in turn can cause behavioural and social issues for life unless it is dealt with professionally and with love and care.

Syrian refugee children who have had to flee from their homes and move to an impoverished settlement in Lebanon, with the added trauma of losing a father in the war. Young girls victimised by unspeakable ongoing sexual assault in their own homes in Guatemala. Children completely abandoned in the slums of Lusaka, Zambia. The causes are widely varied, but each carries heart-breaking tragedy.

Such trauma can have a tremendous impact on these precious children – how it can affect the way their brain works, causing all sorts of behavioural issues such as temper tantrums, withdrawal from others, problems with relationships, manipulative and secretive tendencies, and many more. No matter how much we love and pray for them, these dysfunctions can become permanent and disabling unless the trauma is recognised and addressed.

When we acknowledge God’s design for the whole child – body, mind, and spirit – we can develop approaches that concentrate on holistic healing. Not content just to make sure a child finishes school or behaves well on the playground, we long to see the deep resolution of hurts that will help them experience life in all its fullness – and not be the ‘problem child’ or difficult adult.

 An ever-growing part of our work is to provide professional trauma-informed care to these children, work which has been shaped and modelled over the years (especially with our work in Guatemala). This care is trust-based, establishing solid bonds between a child and his or her caregivers, therapists, and social workers, and then building on the foundation of trust to address the child’s deep wounds and fears. 

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” Psalm 10:17-18         

Our mission is to rescue, redeem, and restore these children not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual wholeness as a foundation for joyful, independent lives. Thanks to our generous supporters, we are making this possible for hundreds and thousands of children whom God has entrusted to us.

Where on earth do we start with children who have suffered such trauma?

It begins with trust. No child, shattered by betrayal, abuse, or exploitation, can begin to heal and break generational cycles of dysfunction until they can learn to trust again. And it’s here that your support allows us to walk with wounded children.

 “Trust-Based Relational Intervention” (TBRI®)

In many cases, our aim is to take them through a special trauma-informed intervention programme designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. This is an intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioural problems and has been applied successfully in a variety of contexts, including our work in Guatemala. Backed up with a lot of love and prayer from our staff, it is based on a solid foundation of neuro developmental theory and research.  

 We have piloted the use of TBRI® in several of our countries, and we are now moving to expand its application at all of our ministry sites. Your support is making this possible and we are delighted to have recently appointed Christian child psychologists in Zambia and Lebanon, as well as a Global Coordinator for Trauma Care. Please pray for them as they settle into their new roles!

If you would like to support us in funding this vital work, please make a donation here.

Posted on March 17th 2021

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