The Issue

According to Dr. Robert Block, former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Adverse childhood experiences (trauma) are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today.” Children in the foster care system have experienced trauma in the way of abuse, neglect, and other negative experiences they have had to endure. The current foster care system fails to address this trauma, which is the root cause of criminality, violence, and mental, emotional, and physical disease that can last a lifetime.

Negative experiences impact the composition of a child’s brain and alter brain development. However, research in brain science has proven that due to the neuroplasticity of the brain, the effects of trauma can be healed (and in a relatively short period of time). Healing this trauma and enabling children’s lives to take a different trajectory is the mission of our organization.

Now There is Hope

All Star Children’s Foundation is building a trauma-informed campus that will include a 12,000 square foot clinic and treatment center, six family-style licensed foster homes, and a community recreation center.  The clinic will be used for outpatient and residential counseling and therapy. All Star anticipates annually serving 90-100 children in its foster homes and an additional 250 on an outpatient basis. The programs and services offered by All Star will utilize evidence-based trauma-informed clinical therapies customized to each child’s individual needs.  This differs from traditional therapy. Children will learn to think differently and build resiliency to the memories that have continued to retraumatize their minds and that have served as a barrier to a successful and quality life.

All Star’s goals are to:

  • Ensure early intervention when a child has been exposed to trauma and immediately providing trauma-informed treatment
  • Keep siblings together
  • Engage all members of a child’s family and support system
  • Address each child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs
  • Significantly reduce the rate of recidivism in foster care

Ultimately, if these goals are accomplished, children can heal from trauma. They will learn they have choices and they can use that power to make specific, positive changes in their behavior – freeing them from the victimization of their past. They will have coping strategies for life, and can build trust and self-worth.

In collaboration with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, All Star will develop and deliver an innovative, trauma-focused treatment program that will become the gold standard for healing childhood trauma and a model for the rest of the State and the nation. Research will also play a key role on the All Star campus. The Johns Hopkins research team will gather data, measure the impact of trauma-informed treatment, interpret the findings, and then follow children long-term. Our aim is to track children into adulthood to see the indelible impact trauma-informed treatment and programs has on their life.

Next Steps

Utilizing data and outcomes from the research conducted on our campus, All Star hopes to replicate its treatment model throughout the country. In addition, All Star will create a national policy council that will take what is learned on our campus and advocate at the federal and state levels to infuse trauma-informed care into foster care and child welfare systems across the country.

All Star Children’s Foundation welcomes opportunity for partnership, collaboration, and support. With your support, together, we will build a better future in foster care.

Children in Foster Care Today

  • There are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system.
  • 50% had 4 or more traumatic experiences.
  • These children are 7 times more likely to be involved in crime and 7 times more likely to have drug and alcohol addiction
  • By 21, 25% are homeless and 80% have mental health issues.
  • 50% won’t finish high school by the age of 18.
  • 50% of sex trafficking victims were in the foster care system at some point during their childhood.
  • Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties have had a 200% increase in the number of children removed from their homes from 2013 to 2016.
  • 50% of siblings are separated due to shortage of homes.
  • 100 additional foster homes are needed in our local area.

Click here to learn more about the cycle of abuse.