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EdSource: CA legislators urged to pass laws to reduce childhood trauma-linked to behavior at school

Sept 26, 2017, EdSource: Addressing early childhood trauma requires shift in policy, more training for teachers For the first time, more than 100 California-based agencies and advocacy groups that have teamed up to raise awareness about the impact of early childhood trauma on families and communities took that effort to state policymakers, urging them to create legislation that can reduce childhood trauma, often associated with long-term illness and academic and behavior problems in school. Early childhood trauma occurs when a child, from birth to age 6, experiences or witnesses a painful and harmful incident, which can include abuse and neglect, domestic violence and loss of, or separation from, a parent. It may also result from high levels of stress associated with living in poverty, according to a recent report titled, “Helping Young Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: Policies and Strategies for Early Care and Education.”... The group’s goal was to urge lawmakers to focus on addressing trauma in current and future legislation. This includes bills that address structural changes in healthcare while also focusing on areas such as education and “promotes collaboration and shared decision-making” across disciplines. 4CA is supporting three bills in the 17-18 legislative cycle, including one that requires “children are assessed for trauma as part of their routine health screening through Medicaid.” A key recommendation from 4CA was to increase training opportunities for professionals who work primarily with children, including teachers. Despite how common trauma is and how damaging it can be to young children, few early childhood educators and programs are prepared to address trauma in schools, according to a recent by the National Center for Children in Poverty that examined policies and strategies around early childhood trauma and education. Without awareness and competency training, it’s difficult for teachers learn how to recognize and respond to trauma appropriately, the report states. ...

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