Overview of the UAMS ARBEST Program

Overview of UAMS ARBEST Program

(Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma)

by Chad Sievers, MSSW, & Robyn D. Rektor, MA


In the spring of 2009, the Arkansas State Legislature approved funding to improve screening, monitoring, and continuity of care for children experiencing physical or sexual abuse in Arkansas to address the psychological impact of trauma. Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (ARBEST) was created in response. ARBEST’s mission is to improve outcomes for traumatized children and their families in Arkansas through excellence in clinical care, training, advocacy, research, and evaluation.

At the forefront of ARBEST’s mission is providing training for Arkansas’ mental health professionals (MHPs) in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Each spring, a two-day introductory training is offered as well as a one-day advanced training. Since its inception, ARBEST has trained 1,060 MHPs in TF-CBT, resulting in significant growth in the number of children and families in our state receiving trauma-informed care. ARBEST’s sister program, Arkansas Network for Early Stress and Trauma (NEST), has disseminated evidence-based training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) to 83 providers in our state.

To achieve its other goals, ARBEST developed a secure and confidential online database that allows MHPs to track clients’ Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms using the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index. Of the approximately 1,300 MHPs who use the database, 120 (9%) are licensed psychologists. Visit here to learn more about TF-CBT and training.

In addition to training MHPs and tracking data, ARBEST has also been hard at work educating and training more than 1,500 Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services supervisors and frontline workers, foster care parents, juvenile judges, and Arkansas Division of Youth Services staff about the effects of trauma. One of the training’s objectives is educating audiences on how to access trauma-informed care. Participants, and you, can search our online listing of TF-CBT trained therapists in Arkansas.

For more information on TF-CBT, ARBEST, or future trainings, contact Chad Sievers at cmsievers@uams.edu or 501-526-8317.