In my last post, I utilized research to help us all understand the impact of trauma to children in urban areas. In the Philadelphia region, we have seen how trauma has devastated children and families in case after case. The impact, as well as the statistics, are frightening.
Look at how Philadelphia is managing trauma
Lakeside Educational Network, with the help of Philadelphia Department of Human Services and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, has developed a rather exhaustive set of professional development courses for caregivers of children and has trained these individuals who work throughout the city. The professionals encompass counselors, social workers, clinicians and educators who are assisting some of the most difficult families and situations in Philadelphia.
Part of their professional development training has been in the area of trauma. And it has been a goal to cultivate a city of trauma-informed professionals who can apply effective trauma-principles to children that they work with each day.
New initiative: trauma training for early childhood professionals in urban settings
Further, as a result of the leadership of United Way, Independent Blue Cross and several dedicated funders, we are creating an initiative that will take trauma training to a whole new level. We have recognized that the earlier we deal with a traumatized child, the less degree he or she will be impacted at a later age. We have set in motion a plan to provide trauma training and the application of those principles to early childhood centers throughout our city. It is our desire to ensure that every early childhood center has a staff attuned and aware to the behavioral, emotional and neurological issues related to trauma in children.
But perhaps more important is the news for the world of urban early childhood education because we will introduce ways to deal with the huge numbers of traumatized children through techniques and interventions that will actually calm, soothe and eventually heal the impact of trauma in our preschool children. We believe Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers are the best and most productive place to start if we are truly going to make an impact.
New opportunities in training for key clinicians and a model program to replicate
We will also be including opportunities for our city’s key clinicians who are experts in these types of interventions to have greater access to new and advanced training and to apply this advanced training to the children and families identified as victims of trauma. In the next several years, we plan to accomplish an entire trauma triage approach that will feature trauma-informed training, applying trauma principles, and implementing techniques that will help our children in ECE centers. We also will develop a whole system of resources both for families and children who are involved in traumatic situations. It will be our plan to involved hundreds of professionals and educators and thousands of children in our model.
We certainly need help and support of many people in order to launch such an initiative. We are blessed to live in a community that truly cares that there are compassionate leaders who are serious about helping our children grow into healthy adults. This initiative will become a model program that I truly hope the nation will embrace for all major cities.
Trauma is not a local problem but a national one. We as a community of parents and caregivers need to embrace the opportunities we have to help our children become whole. We know that adverse child events impact almost every aspect of a person’s life. If trauma-informed caregivers can intervene at an early age, I truly believe our potential to resolve many trauma-related problems can be alleviated. It is such a worthwhile mission.
Any of you who have an interest in such a model and how to replicate it for your region, please feel free to contact us for more information.
Thanks again for reading Lakeside Connect.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network