NIH has funded research on the prevalence, causes, course, and immediate and long-term consequences of physical, sexual, and emotional child abuse and neglect—now called child maltreatment—for the past few decades. Results of these efforts indicate that child and adolescent victims of abuse are likely to have a legacy of physical and mental problems well into adulthood. Additionally, survivors of disabling head trauma/traumatic brain injury are typically affected by numerous, long-term cognitive and neurologic conditions, including motor and visual deficits, epilepsy, and speech, language, and behavioral problems.
These research findings confirm that child maltreatment in all its forms constitutes a life-long significant public health concern. They also highlight the need for more comprehensive multidisciplinary approaches to address different aspects of this issue, and for greater collaboration among researchers, physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, teachers, legal professionals, medical examiners, and other members of the child protection community.
To address these findings and generate new data, NICHD funds the CAPSTONE Centers for Multidisciplinary Research in Child Abuse and Neglect through its Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch. These centers conduct:
- Innovative and high-quality efficacy and effectiveness trials of child abuse and neglect interventions
- Prospective studies examining the long-term effect of specific and understudied types of maltreatment, including abusive head trauma, sexual abuse, and medical child abuse and neglect
- Studies examining the neurobiology of abuse and neglect
- Studies to develop and test screening tools and assessment measures for early identification and treatment of specific types of abuse and neglect to decrease morbidity and mortality and to identify potential comorbidities
The centers also provide opportunities for community members, students, and faculty at all levels, to gain experience with cutting-edge educational tools and technologies, research, and clinical expertise within the field of child maltreatment.
CAPSTONE centers focus on multidisciplinary projects related to broad themes, such as diagnostic and clinical approaches, long-term impact and outcome studies, and context and culture. They conduct clinical trials, longitudinal, prospective, and other studies on the following topics:
- Efficacy and effectiveness of clinical interventions
- Long-term effects of specific and understudied types of maltreatment, including abusive head trauma, medical child abuse and neglect, chronic sexual abuse
- Neurobiology of abuse and neglect and implications for health outcomes
- Validity of screening tools and clinical assessment measures for early identification and treatment of specific types of abuse and neglect
- Methods and mechanisms to decrease morbidity and mortality and identify potential comorbidities
- Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy Research
Washington University in St. Louis
- Translational Center for Child Maltreatment Studies
Pennsylvania State University
- Translational Research that Adapts New Science FOR Maltreatment Prevention (TRANSFORM)
University of Minnesota Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health and University of Rochester Mt. Hope Family Center
- RFA-HD-23-007: CAPSTONE Centers for Multidisciplinary Research in Child Abuse and Neglect (P50) (Clinical Trial Optional)
- Press Release: NIH Funds Specialized Centers in Child Maltreatment Research (October 4, 2018)
- NICHD Contact: Valerie Maholmes