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Goal of our Work

Boston is one of eight sites across the country funded by the Department of Justice in the Defending Childhood Initiative. The goal of the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative is to prevent and reduce the impact of exposure to violence of children 0 to 17 years old in their homes, schools and the communities.

Our Strategy

The Defending Childhood Initiative implements 5 strategies:

  1. Training and Capacity Building: This strategy has three parts:
    • Provide basic skills training to providers and residents about a) the impact of violence and trauma on children, b) skills to support to children and c)skills to promote resilience and protective factors in children, adolescents and families;
    • Train mental health clinicians in evidence based mental health treatments for trauma.
    • Support early child care and education systems to prevent and reduce the impact of exposure to violence of children and families with whom they work.
  2. Family Strengthening: Support community organizations to implement the evidence based family nurturing program.
  3. Youth Engagement and Social Marketing: Support youth to promote healthy relationships and prevent violence through local peer leadership programs and a city-wide, youth led social marketing campaign. 
  4. Direct Services: Provide evidence-based, behavioral health services to children exposed to violence in two community health centers.
  5. Data and Policy: Recommend and advocate for policies to promote trauma-informed systems, and improve data collection on children's exposure to violence.

Services We Offer:

Our Partners:

  • Local partners: A collaborative of over 65 partners that represent an expansive range of sectors, types of violence, state and local agencies and diverse cultural groups and vulnerable populations.
  • National partners: Department of JusticeFutures without Violence


Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: