Jerry Dunn, director of the Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at UMSL, talks about St. Louis County’s support of treating childhood trauma. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Child abuse is not something many people like to talk about, but that culture is shifting in St. Louis County through support, funding and resources.

The funding is generated by the taxpayer-supported St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund and is part of an initiative that has made St. Louis County a leader in the treatment of childhood trauma.

“The thing to bring home here, there are a lot of traumatic experiences in our culture, and our children are being exposed to it at a very high level,” Jerry Dunn, Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

CASGSL has three locations in the St. Louis area, and provides specialized individual, group and family counseling to children affected by traumatic events including sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. In addition, the center provides training to UMSL students in social service and children’s advocacy studies programs.

“We want to look at the cause of the problem and get down to the root,” Dunn told the Post. “When we have a child who has been exposed to trauma, they just react to the world in fundamentally different ways. They don’t view the world as safe, and they don’t view people as safe.”

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton