Massachusetts, Washington State lead U.S. trauma-sensitive school movement

Washington State determined that 13 out of every 30 students in a classroom will have toxic stress from 3 or more traumatic experiences. Those children are likely to be more “unruly”, more “unmotivated” or more absent than the others. Source: Washington State Family Policy Council.


TRAUMA-SENSITIVE SCHOOLS. TRAUMA-INFORMED classrooms. Compassionate schools. Safe and supportive schools. All different names to describe a movement that’s taking shape and gaining momentum across the country.

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Roundup: ACEs in kids predict child abuse when they’re parents; big demand for dating-violence prevention info in MI county; how some abusive men use DV laws to their advantage

Chronic child abuse and/or neglect (CAN) suffered by children leads to increased risk in all categories above. In cases of violent delinquency, brain injury, and further child abuse by parents who were abused as children, there’s a slight decline for the highest category compared with middle categories. But in all cases having reports was associated with higher rates of problems.


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Toxic stress from childhood trauma causes obesity, too

HBO’s four-part series, “The Weight of the Nation”, says a lack of exercise, genetics, an overabundance of sugar and food marketing cause 78 million Americans to be obese and morbidly obese. But HBO missed something significant — the link between obesity and adverse childhood experiences. For millions of people, it’s more important than all the rest.

More than six million obese and morbidly obese people are likely to have suffered physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse during their childhoods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ACE Study. It’s likely that millions more can point to other types of childhood trauma – including loss of a parent through divorce, living with an alcoholic parent or a mentally ill family member – or other traumatic experiences such as rape or assault — as a starting point for their weight gain.

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Roundup: Pittsburg, PA, model for fixing child homelessness? Child sex abuse case goes from “founded” to “unfounded”; Does your state prohibit employers from firing DV victims?

Lincoln High School staff member Brooke Bouchey in supply room full of food, clothes, blankets, backpacks, and sleeping bags donated by Walla Walla community.


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Roundup: States graded on secrecy for child abuse reporting; strangulation = gunshot in more states; India talk show highlights stunningly high rates of child abuse

The Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law last month came out with its grades for  states’ reporting of child abuse fatalities or near-fatalities. Oklahoma went from a C+ in 2008 to a B this year, and promptly landed itself in hot water. That’s because of what seems to be a federal agency that’s bucking a federal law.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Training Act (CAPTA) requires that in cases of death or near-death, the case details “must be made public so that they can be examined to identify needed systemic reform”, and states must comply, according to the Institute’s 2012 report.

Just 4% of maltreatment reports result in the removal of a child from his/her home. Certainly, the removal of any child from a family is a serious decision. An error in judgment when separating a child from his or her family is fraught with mental trauma. Every jurisdiction in America imposes a series of measures designed to limit state abuses in cases of unjustified removal. But what about error in the other direction?

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Roundup: Say no to cookie-cutter approach, says juvenile court judge; migraines, strokes linked to ACEs; is it OK to divorce your family?

Steven Teske, chief judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, is well known for statements such as: “We lock up kids because they make us angry. The problem is not with kids, it’s with adults.” He’s also known for his efforts to prevent kids from being funneled into the juvenile justice system. In this week’s column for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Teske mused about the “interesting paradox about how we use adolescent brain research”, just before a police escort arrived to accompany him to work. Here’s why:

Although it is taboo to diagnose adolescents with any psychopathy, the anti-social personality traits that some kids display keep us guessing if this kid is a serious risk to the community. What does this mean when kids like this are already wired to do stupid things? Kids having a psychopathy , who make poor decisions and act impulsively – well, they are really scary!

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There’s something missing from Weight of the Nation

There was scary news as well as news to inspire coming out of the first presentations at the Weight of the Nation, the forum sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention taking place in Washington, D.C. The meeting began on Monday and ends today. It’s supposed to “highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies, and is framed around five intervention settings: early care and education; states, tribes and communities; medical care; schools; and workplaces.”

According to NPR’s Shots health blog, the scary news was this:

In the new study, researchers estimate that obesity will continue to rise and will affect 42 percent of adults by 2030. (Obesity represents a body mass index score, a ratio of weight to height, of 30 or higher. Separate estimates for children aren’t calculated.)

The news that should inspire us to figure out a way to reduce obesity was this:

Slowing the rising rates of obesity in this country by just 1 percent a year over the next two decades would slice the costs of health care by $85 billion.

Keep obesity rates where they are now — well below a 33 percent increase that’s been expected by some — and the savings would hit nearly $550 billion over the same 20 years.

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Roundup: Billboard invites people to ‘drag him away’; this is definitely child trauma, but what to do?

This interactive billboard in London’s Eustis Station invites people to use their mobile phones to drag the abuser away from a woman….drag him across several large screens. It’s a clever way to make the point….especially as it focuses the change of behavior on the abuser, rather than a sometimes more traditional question: “Why doesn’t the victim leave?”

IN THIS LETTER TO AN ADVICE COLUMN, a grandmother asks what to do about how her daughter and son-in-law behave with their children:

The parents think that they’re doing a good job because they don’t hit their children, but they do scream at their little girl, they demean her and they can be extremely hateful to her, even though she is loving, smart and athletic. She is, however, a challenging child who doesn’t always listen, who can be defiant at times and who has always had trouble falling asleep. Her father reacts to it by staying with her for more than an hour at night or by forcing her back to bed while he boils with anger.

If my daughter sees her child misbehave, she says, ”You’ll never have any friends.” And she yelled at her when the child’s attention waned when she was playing soccer. “You’re just too little to play!” she said. And then they threw her into the car and drove her home — screaming all the way — so she could take a nap.

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