The ChildTrauma Academy of today reflects a long tradition of academic excellence in research, education and service. Founded in 1990 by Dr. Perry as the Center for the Study of Childhood Trauma, the original non-academic partner in this unique “Institute without Walls” was St. Joseph Carondolet Children’s Center, a not-for-profit child welfare agency in Chicago, Illinois serving abused and neglected children. The basic neuroscience component of the Center was the Laboratory of Developmental Neurosciences founded at the University of Chicago by Dr. Perry as part of the Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Pharmacology. It was during this period that the work of Dr. Perry and the CTA were among the first of a small group of colleagues studying and recognized the importance of trauma on the developing child’s brain.
In 1992, the Center became the ChildTrauma Programs and moved to Houston when Dr. Perry became Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital at Baylor College of Medicine. The ChildTrauma Programs functioned as a component of the Psychiatry Service at Texas Children’s Hospital affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. In 1994 CIVITAS Initiative, a Chicago-based communications foundation, became a primary funding partner and from 1995 to 1998 the ChildTrauma Programs became the CIVITAS ChildTrauma Programs, a partnership between the three primary institutions supporting its work, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and CIVITAS Initiative. Read an interview of Dr. Perry in the Loyola Child Law Journal about our work during this era.
In 1998, in recognition of a shift in our focus to interdisciplinary educational activities (e.g., judges, caseworkers, psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, foster parents, educators, and early childhood specialists) we became the ChildTrauma Academy. With a number of innovative public and private partnerships and programs, our work – while still focused on maltreated children – became increasingly focused on non-medical models of care and cross-agency collaborations. Our work was beginning to impact policy on a state and national basis and our research projects became increasingly focused on clinical and systemic outcomes. By 2000 our primary partners came from the public-private partnerships we had created to implement our innovative programs, specifically the State of Texas via the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (TDPRS) and a visionary corporation, Digital Consulting and Software Services (DCSS).
In 2001, The ChildTrauma Academy made a transition from a University-based, medical model working group to an independent, Community of Practice. Since that time, the CTA has continued its traditions of exploration, discovery, translation and dissemination to improve the lives of all children and families and, and thereby, our communities, and society.