Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations in San Luis Obispo County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

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    Center for Family Strengthening Executive Director Lisa Fraser joined Gabriela Grant, Executive Director of California Center of Excellence for Trauma Informed Care, and Sandra Miscovich, Director of Maternal & Child Health with… Read more… 

  • CDC Press Release

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  • Center for Family Strengthening recognized in SLO Tribune

    In a recent Tribune article, Postpartum depression: Symptoms, risk factors and resources for mothers, Center for Family Strengthening was recognized for its postpartum depression support services in SLO County. Over 500 pregnant and… Read more… 

  • SAVE THE DATE

    "A Trauma Informed SLO"Featuring Gabriella Grant - Executive Director, California Center of Excellence for Trauma Informed Care. Gabriella Grant is a leader in the field of Trauma Informed Care. She trains professionals, in all disciplines,… Read more… 

  • Watch THE RAISING OF AMERICA

    Why do we, as a nation, make it so hard for children to thrive, and how can we do better? Watch the 5-part documentary series THE RAISING OF AMERICA to… Read more… 

Family Violence and Child Abuse

Exposure to violence has a measurable effect, researchers say

 by Robert Preidt

Friday, December 9, 2011

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) — Children who are abused or exposed to family violence have changes in brain activity similar to those seen in combat veterans, a new study finds.

The brains of these children become increasingly “tuned” for identifying possible sources of danger, said U.K. researchers who used functional imaging to monitor brain activity.

When the study authors showed pictures of angry faces to children with a history of abuse, the children’s brains showed increased activity in the anterior insula and amygdala, which are involved in detecting threat and anticipating pain.

These changes don’t indicate brain damage but are the brain’s way of adapting to a challenging or dangerous environment, study author Eamon McCrory, of University College London, explained.

The study appears in the Dec. 6 issue of the journal Current Biology.

“Enhanced reactivity to a biologically salient threat cue such as anger may represent an adaptive response for these children in the short term, helping keep them out of danger,” McCrory said in a journal news release. “However, it may also constitute an underlying neurobiological risk factor increasing their vulnerability to later mental health problems, and particularly anxiety.”

The findings are important because of the large numbers of children who are exposed to family violence.

“This underlines the importance of taking seriously the impact for a child of living in a family characterized by violence. Even if such a child is not showing overt signs of anxiety or depression, these experiences still appear to have a measurable effect at the neural level,” McCrory said.

SOURCE: Current Biology, news release, Dec. 5, 2011

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