The ChildTrauma Academy (CTA) is a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, Texas working to improve the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education.
A major activity of the CTA is to translate emerging findings about the human brain and child development into practical implications for the ways we nurture, protect, enrich, educate and heal children. The "translational neuroscience" work of the CTA has resulted in a range of innovative programs in therapeutic, child protection and educational systems.
The CTA is a Community of Practice. Etienne Wenger, a leading social learning theorist, defines communities of practice as groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. This model has been discussed as optimal for promoting social change in our current complex world. The CTA works to create collaborative working relationships between organizations and individuals to most effectively promote positive change for children.
The CTA started as a typical center of excellence in an academic setting, initially at The University of Chicago and later at Baylor College of Medicine. Over time however, it was clear that the problems of abuse and neglect in children were much more complex and multi-dimensional in ways that our medical model was unable to address.
A medical school centered work group investigating and solving physiological problems in humans makes sense. Solving problems which involve parenting, education, the law, child protection systems, mental health, law enforcement and a host of related systems across every professional discipline is more challenging. In response to this challenge we have created a collaborative, interdisciplinary virtual Center of Excellence, The ChildTrauma Academy.