In addition to supporting services for children exposed to trauma and their families, ARBEST trains other clinicians and partners statewide and supports the mental health needs of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs).  ARBEST began in the Spring of 2009 when the Arkansas State Legislature approved funding for the Psychiatric Research Institute at UAMS to improve screening, monitoring, and continuity of care to address the psychological impact of trauma for children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse in Arkansas.[

ARBEST’s mission is to improve outcomes for traumatized children and their families in Arkansas through excellence in clinical care, training, advocacy, and evaluation. Its objectives are:

  • Provide training to advocates, mental health professionals (MHPs), and other individuals working with traumatized children in evidence-based practices.
  • Design, train, and implement a statewide screening protocol for use in all CACs and Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs).
  • Provide clinical services for children at the Child Study Center who have experienced sexual or physical abuse and track their progress over time.
  • Establish a statewide communication system for ongoing training, supervision, and consultation for MHPs.
  • Fund MHPs to provide services at CACs.

ARBEST has achieved many milestones to help Arkansas become a nationally-recognized exemplary leader in providing trauma-informed care. A few highlights include:

  • Instituted and maintains a statewide database to track trauma.
  • Offers free annual introductory and advanced state-of-the-art training in TF-CBT; to date, more than 540 Arkansas providers have completed all aspects of TF-CBT training.
  • Supports the training of MHPs in CPP and PCIT with more than 30 providers fully trained in either or both treatments.
  • Distributes funding for mental health services to CACs.
  • Developed Managing Youth Trauma Effectively (MYTE) program and adapted this curriculum for women in substance use treatment programs and foster and adoptive families.

To learn more about the ARBEST program and its accomplishments, visit