4KIDS Stress Resilience and Cognitive Function Study
Problem Statement: The number of children in foster care has increased in recent years to 437,000 in 2016. All children in foster care have been exposed to some form of trauma. The very act of being put in foster care is traumatic for children because it means the loss of their birth family and often friends, schoolmates, teachers, and everything that is familiar. Trauma can affect children’s brains, bodies, behavior, and ways of thinking. A recent and growing body of research into children’s brain development is shedding new light on the ways that maltreatment changes the structure and chemical activity of the brain and the resulting emotional and behavioral functioning of the child. Adolescents in Foster care are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide as a result of trauma-induced negative neuroplastic pathways.
Heal the Hero Foundation funded a pilot program for 4Kids.The program consisted of, a proprietary- blended brain performance protocol of technology-driven neuro guidance, brain nutritional support, and brain performance coaching delivered by Vitanya Brain Performance Centers.
This report reflects the data we have collected at the conclusion of the program. One child (age 12) and 2 adolescents (ages 14,15) along with one (1) supervising adult were awarded scholarships for the program. Over the course of six months, each individual participated in the established “Hero 180” protocol for a neurotechnology-based brain performance program where effectiveness was demonstrated through measurement of reduction in trauma, and depressive symptoms.The program’s goals were designed to maximize brain potential in these children with the hopes to alleviate trauma responses and depressive symptoms that can be found in this population. Brain performance programs have shown to children and adults lead happy, healthy, productive lives as adults.
The following highlights are offered as a summary of results. A review of the full report provides further information about program results, measured outcomes, and assessment tools utilized. The highlighted program outcomes at a 3-month follow-up were:
- 68% reduction in trauma
- 77% reduction in depressive symptoms
We believe these findings clearly demonstrate an untapped opportunity for foster care organizations. With optimized brain health, their children will increase their opportunity for adoption and a better future.
Lou Schwartz, CEO
4KIDS Study Results
Program Participant Cohorts: All 4kids participants were affiliated with the organization, through either foster/adoptive services or staff.
Recruitment: A meeting of potentially interested program candidates was organized by staff of the 4kids program. Staff members then recommended candidates, received parental consent, and chose an adult staff member as an adult “control”. The 4kids staff member was chosen to not only experience the program, but also to communicate, in a detailed fashion, based on their Masters-level mental health education and trauma related work knowledge.
Program Design: All program participants received “Hero 180” Brain Performance Program Protocols. Program focus: Trauma Reduction and Performance (Completion of a 6-month program)
- 42% Reduction of the impacts of Trauma
- 47% Improvement in Depressive Symptoms
*Reduction in Trauma Metric: Data analysis includes examination of the impact of the Brain Performance program at individual, cohort, and population levels. One of three measurement instruments, a measurement tool commonly referred to as a “Child Report of Post-Traumatic Symptoms (CROPS), was developed based on a blending of the results of a meta- analysis of child trauma literature and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Items were evaluated by child trauma experts for content validity and clarity and piloted for comprehension and sensitivity to change. Some items include “I try to forget about bad things that have happened”, “I’m a jinx, or bad-luck charm”, and “I do special things to make sure nothing bad happens”. The measurement of relative ‘reduction in trauma’ is reflected by participants answers on a likert-type scale, from 0 to 2, where 0 = ‘none’, 1 = ‘some’, and 2 = ‘lots’