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Improving Knowledge and Attitudes About Child Trauma Among Parents and Staff in Head Start Programs.

  • Guerrero, A
  • Herman, A
  • Teutsch, C
  • Dudovitz, R
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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BackgroundEarly childhood represents a sensitive developmental period when trauma-informed care may mitigate the effects of trauma on developmental and health outcomes. However, few interventions use a low-literacy scalable approach to improve child trauma knowledge and attitudes among parents and early childcare and education caregivers.MethodsRepresentatives from 24 early head start (EHS) and head start (HS) agencies attended a 2 day online train-the trainer session and then delivered a child trauma and resilience training to staff at their sites, with the option to deliver a similar training to parents. Baseline and 3 month post-training surveys assessed participant knowledge and attitudes regarding childhood trauma and resilience. Paired T-tests and chi2 analyses assessed changes in responses over time.ResultsThousand five hundred sixty seven staff from 24 agencies and 443 parents from 7 agencies completed baseline and follow up surveys. Over 55% of parents reported their child had experienced at least one adverse childhood experience. Staff and parents had high knowledge regarding causes of trauma at baseline. Both staff and parents, demonstrated significant improvements in identifying symptoms of child trauma. Staff also improved knowledge of resiliency and toxic stress. Parents reported more positive attitudes towards trauma-informed parenting practices.ConclusionThis is the first training on childhood trauma among EHS/HS providers and parents using a low literacy train-the-trainer approach. Results suggest a potentially promising methodology with broad dissemination potential to prepare and train the one million plus teachers and caregivers in center-based settings and the parents and families who access them to recognize and respond to child trauma.

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