Search

Vermont: 3 bills in statehouse address childhood trauma at the hands of parents; linked to SPED

Feb 8, 2018, VT Digger: Lawmakers tackle childhood trauma effects https://vtdigger.org/2018/02/08/lawmakers-tackle-childhood-trauma-effects/ After hearing sometimes-emotional stories from more than 60 witnesses, a group of state legislators studying the effects of childhood trauma couldn’t come up with just one bill to address the problem. Instead, they drew up four. The package of bills – three in the House and one in the Senate – aims to improve trauma support and treatment within state government, health care and education via new positions, training and strategies. The idea is that the long-lingering impacts of childhood trauma are the “root cause” of social problems including imprisonment, poverty, homelessness, addiction and chronic illness. … The concept is not new. A landmark 1998 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente found that nearly two-thirds of more than 17,000 participants reported at least one adverse childhood experience such as abuse or neglect. More than 20 percent reported three or more such experiences. The study found that, as the number of adverse childhood experiences increases, so does the risk of a wide variety of issues including addiction, disease, depression, suicide attempts, intimate partner violence, poor work performance and poor academic performance. … Rep. Kate Webb, D-Shelburne, said the impact of adverse childhood experiences on Vermont’s schools is clear. About 17 to 18 percent of children receiving special education have an emotional disturbance, and “that’s three times the national average,” Webb said. Lawmakers are hearing from educators about the challenges of teaching children “whose brains are probably so awash in cortisol that they do not pay attention to curriculum,” Webb said. The working group’s report discusses the link between excessive cortisol – the “fight or flight” hormone released during “toxic stress” events – and brain damage. “For some children, the damage and developmental delays prevent normal functioning and can become barriers throughout their lives,” it says. …