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Child Trauma Program

Evidence-based services to children who have experienced trauma and their families.

​The primary goal of the Kempe Child Trauma Program is to increase community capacity to deliver evidence-based, culturally-informed mental health services to children who have experienced trauma and their families.  We do this by (1) training professionals in effective mental health treatments, (2) conducting community-based research on intervention development and dissemination of evidence based practices in child-service settings, and (3) providing evidence-based clinical service . We have active collaborations with multidisciplinary community partners locally and  throughout Colorado.

We are an active  site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network ( which is a collaboration of academic and community service sites that work together to raise the standard of care for trauma-exposed children and families throughout the United States.

Faculty -

Kimberly Shipman, PhD
Monica Fitzgerald, PhD
Marcela Torres, PhD
Angèle Fauchier, PhD
Jessica Gorrono, LCSW

Clinical Services 

The Child Trauma Program provides evidence-based mental health assessment and treatment for children and families who have experienced difficult or traumatic life events.  

Current Clinical Services:  

Clinical services are available at no cost to children and families who qualify to participate in one of our clinical research trials.    

Our current trial is SafeStart Aurora, which provide free clinical services to over 400 children and families in Aurora and the Denver metro area.  Families who qualify receive one of two services: 
1)  Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), or 2) TF-CBT plus “AFFECT” (see below for service description and eligibility.)  

How do I know if my child/family/client is eligible?

  • Experienced a difficult/traumatic event (sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, witness domestic violence, car accident, medical procedures/diagnosis/injury, death of a loved one)
    Between the ages of 5-12
What is TF-CBT?
  • A short-term, evidence-based treatment for children (aged 3-18) who have experienced traumatic events and their supportive caregivers
  • Highly effective for improving child trauma-related symptoms (e.g., PTSD, depression, behavior problems, feelings of guilt/shame), parenting skills, and caregiver distress
  • TF-CBT is typically delivered in 12-16 sessions
  • Caregivers play an active role in treatment
  • TF-CBT has been used with diverse families and has well-developed cultural modifications for Lation Families
  • TF-CBT effectiveness is supported by ten completed randomized clinical trials. 

To learn more about TF-CBT, click NCTSN’s fact sheet of visit: and 

AFFECT description  

AFFECT (A Family Focused Emotion Communication Training Program) is a brief, evidence-informed treatment module that teaches caregivers specific emotion communication skills for talking with their children about trauma and other emotionally-arousing topics. The goal is to enhance parents’ abilities to support their children in treatment. AFFECT communication training is integrated into the child’s and family’s treatment (i.e., TF-CBT ). 

Evidence-Based Practices Training Initiative: Best Practices for Child Trauma  

We offer training and consultation to mental health professionals, child welfare staff, attorneys, law enforcement, and related professionals working with maltreated and trauma-exposed children and families in diverse child service settings. Trainings for professionals focus on child trauma, creating trauma informed systems, and implementing evidence-based mental health treatments for trauma-exposed children and their families. We provide consultation following training to help with implementation. We also track training outcomes to evaluate the impact of our training efforts on professional’s daily practice with children and families.  
We offer training to caregivers to help them talk with their children about feelings and difficult life events/topics and to help children regulate their emotions as well as cope with stress.  Topics include adoption, divorce, trauma, medical diagnoses/procedures/injury, and loss.
Our staff offers trainings at the Kempe Center and at community sites throughout Colorado as well as at national and international sites. We also offer a year-long clinical training program for mental health providers and trainees.
Trainings in Evidence-based Treatments for Mental Health Professionals:
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Child Traumatic Grief   
Trainings for Professionals Who Work with Trauma-Exposed Children:
Creating a trauma-informed system of care
Screening and assessment of trauma exposure and trauma related symptoms
Mental health treatments that work for child abuse and neglect
Questions to ask therapists– getting the best care for children and families
Project Focus - Mental health assessment and effective treatment for youth and families involved in Child Welfare
Trainings for Parents and Caregivers:
Talking with children about feelings and difficult events – Promoting healthy emotion regulation and coping
Click here for current training schedule and registration. If you are interested in receiving training at your agency and/or in a training that is not on the schedule, please contact Monica Fitzgerald (303-864-5369;​

​Research Interests
Development of A Family Focused Emotion Communication Training Program (AFFECT)
 AFFECT is an intervention module that teaches caregivers to respond to children’s emotion in a way that helps children’s development of emotion regulation skills and improves the quality of parent-child communication. The AFFECT module was developed by Drs. Kimberly Shipman and Monica Fitzgerald and is based on their previous research. AFFECT was designed to complement other family-focused, evidence-based treatments for children and families that involve talking about feelings and difficult life events. We are currently evaluating AFFECT as part of our SafeStart Aurora randomized clinical trial (Link to SafeStart link) 

Community-Based Dissemination and Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices for Child Trauma  
We are working together with community partners to make evidence-based treatments for child trauma available throughout Colorado. The primary goal of this work is to identify the most effective strategies for training communities to implement and sustain evidence-based mental health treatment. We also examine the impact of training and consultation on professionals’ daily practice with children and families.

SafeStart Aurora is a four-year project evaluating evidence-based treatment for trauma-exposed children. The project has $1,000,000 in funding from Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. SafeStart Aurora is the first large-scale randomized clinical trial of A Family Focused Emotion Communication Training Program (AFFECT). The Child Trauma Program is partnering with Aurora Mental Health Center to provide free clinical services to over 400 children and families in the Aurora and Denver metro areas. Families will either receive TF-CBT as a stand-alone treatment or TF-CBT + AFFECT. See CLINICAL page for more information on TF-CBT and AFFECT.  
Evidence-Based Practice Training Initiative (EBTI) (have picture of Colorado Map) 
EBTI is designed to increase access to trauma-informed evidence-based mental health treatments for children and families by building capacity for mental health professionals to provide evidence-based treatments. EBTI includes a combination of activities, such as web-based learning; in-person training; expert consultation and support for professionals, supervisors, and administrators; and continuous evaluation feedback about training impact. This supportive approach helps professionals learn and apply new practices while overcoming challenges that come up when working with evidence-based treatments in the field. EBTI offers a unique opportunity to learn about the implementation process in a natural setting.
Project FOCUS 
Project Focus is a caseworker training and consultation model that involves enhancing the skills of caseworkers through training and consultation. Project Focus was designed to improve child well-being by training caseworkers to identify commonly occurring mental health problems, refer youth to appropriate mental health treatment, and monitor treatment effectiveness. Project Focus is part of our National Child Traumatic Stress Center grant and is being conducted in collaboration with Colorado Department of Human Services. We are currently piloting Project Focus in five Colorado Counties.