UIC’s IGNITE, SPARKS programs receive $5M in federal funds

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth recently announced a total federal funding to help address trauma and the cycle of violence in Chicago. University of Illinois Chicago Urban Youth Trauma Center’s Innovative Guidance for Neighborhood Initiatives for Trauma-informed Effectiveness, or IGNITE, and UIC’s Service-partners Promoting Awareness, Resilience and Knowledge-based Solutions, or SPARKS, received $600,000 and $400,000 respectively this year, with a five-year total of $5 million. 

Liza Suarez and Jaleel K. Abdul-Adil

Liza Suarez and Jaleel K. Abdul-Adil — Photo: Jenny Fontaine

The funding, which was awarded by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, or NCTSN, will support Chicago initiatives aimed at expanding and improving trauma-informed care for youth who have been exposed to community violence.

“This federal support will help us continue the work of the Urban Youth Trauma Center in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to expand workforce training, evidence-based services, and access to care for youth impacted by traumatic exposure to community violence with behavioral and substance abuse problems,” said Liza Suarez, co-director of UIC’s Urban Trauma Center and UIC assistant professor of clinical psychology.

“The IGNITE project will help us continue specialized training, education and consultation for youth providers on prevention and intervention, and the SPARKS project will allow us to increase direct services for youth, families in clinical and community settings,” said Jaleel K. Abdul-Adil, co-director of UIC’s Urban Youth Trauma Center and UIC associate professor of clinical psychology.

These grants will address training and service gaps in trauma informed engagement, assessment, prevention and intervention programs particularly targeting vulnerable, low-income, multisystem involved, and ethnic minority youth, Suarez said.  

In June, Durbin and Duckworth introduced the Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act, which would further increase funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma and expand the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system.

“Too many kids in Chicago carry the burden of trauma and too often, there’s not a helping hand for them to cope and thrive. To help break the cycle of violence, I’ve made it a priority to increase funding and improve access to services for children and families who experience trauma,” Durbin said in a statement. “I’m proud that Chicago is receiving this federal support, which will help local organizations continue their important work to address trauma and violence in our communities.”

Two other Chicago organizations also receiving funds included La Rabida Children’s Hospital’s Chicago Child Trauma Center, and Northwestern University’s Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Systems Integration.








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