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June 12, 1996

Children and Families Need Help After Disasters

JAMA. 1996;275(22):1714-1715. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530460018009

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WACO, Oklahoma City, Dunblane... Among the most poignant images stirred by these tragedies are those of children as both victims and survivors. Speakers at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) discussed the aftermath of violence and the role of mental health services in helping children in these communities.

Waco  When 21 children, from 5 months to 12 years old, were released from the Branch Davidian compound over a 3-day period, state child protective services staff initially intended individual foster care placements. But the children were traumatized by having been in a shootout and taken from the world they knew, however flawed, reported Bruce Perry, MD, PhD, vice chair for research, Department of Psychiatry, and director of the CIVITAS ChildTrauma Programs at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex. Perry's team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to keep them together. A cottage was made available at the