Building a Trauma-Informed Early Childhood Community
Through a two-year United Way grant, Community Children’s Center has launched a project called “Building a Trauma-Informed Early Childhood Community.” For the past three years, CCC has been a leader in the Douglas County Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative, which has raised over $100,000 to implement trauma-informed services in the county’s four largest preschools, which are Head Start, Lawrence Public Schools Early Childhood Program at Kennedy Elementary, Hilltop Child Development Center and Positive Bright Start. We have partnered with Crittenton Children’s Center, part of St. Luke’s Health System in KC, to train and coach over 100 early childhood professionals in the evidence-based Trauma Smart model. In the last school year, these professionals served 646 young children and their families, and our evaluation showed a significantly positive changes in how staff work with children who have experienced trauma.
Our United Way project will expand this success to agencies serving young children and families who are most likely to have experienced trauma. The project offers a leadership education series, consultation and a parent education component called Smart Connections. Our vision is for the early childhood community to become truly trauma-informed (a 3 to 5 year process) and to contribute to our entire community to become trauma-informed.
In 2019, the Community Children's Center received a Kansas Health Foundation Impact Grant to develop trauma awareness training for Douglas County and the surrounding area. We partnered with Dr. Marcia Weseman to develop "Trauma Aware Today" with the intention that this one-day course would begin the trauma informed journey for organizations and individuals in our community.
Trauma Aware Today is the first step in an organization’s journey on the Trauma Informed continuum. A Trauma Aware organization is cognizant of how prevalent trauma is and considers how trauma might impact their clientele, staff and community.
This first workshop in the series will review the effects of trauma on brain architecture and the consequences seen in behavior; generational trauma; physical and mental health; and learning. The significance of adult and/or leaders’ management of their own emotions and energy levels on other’s success will be emphasized.
Participants will discuss practice and policy implications when principles of trauma-informed organizations are part of the culture including: safety; transparency and trustworthiness; collaboration; peer support; voice, choice, and empowerment; and cultural, historical and gender issues.
TAT will help organizations build a strong, nourishing support system to ready them for the next steps. Future ASRI trainings (Trauma Sensitive Today, Trauma Responsive Today, and Trauma Informed Sustainability) will move organizations forward on their journey to become Trauma Informed as identified by the Missouri Model: A Developmental Framework to Become Trauma Informed.