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J Child Fam Stud. 2015;24(6):1650-1659.

A Model for Creating a Supportive Trauma-Informed Culture for Children in Preschool Settings.

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School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS USA.
Crittenton Children's Center, Kansas City, MO 64134 USA.


The all too common exposure of young children to traumatic situations and the life-long consequences that can result underscore the need for effective, developmentally appropriate interventions that address complex trauma. This paper describes Head Start Trauma Smart (HSTS), an early education/mental health cross-systems partnership designed to work within the child's natural setting-in this case, Head Start classrooms. The goal of HSTS is to decrease the stress of chronic trauma, foster age-appropriate social and cognitive development, and create an integrated, trauma-informed culture for young children, parents, and staff. Created from a community perspective, the HSTS program emphasizes tools and skills that can be applied in everyday settings, thereby providing resources to address current and future trauma. Program evaluation findings indicate preliminary support for both the need for identification and intervention and the potential to positively impact key outcomes.


Classroom-based consultation; Early childhood mental health; Early childhood trauma; Head Start; Intervention

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