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Reducing Children's Exposure to Violence Risk through Trauma-Informed Early Learning

Award Information

Award #
2010-JW-FX-K018
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2010
Total funding (to date)
$999,783

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $249,783)

The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project will develop and support practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The project will help communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the services continuum for children and their families. Exposure to violence includes being a victim of violence or a witness to violence, and encompasses abuse, neglect or child maltreatment, domestic violence, and community violence. This program is authorized by Sections 261 and 262 of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (42 USC 5665-5666).

This project will implement a universal response strategy for children exposed to violence by integrating social emotional learning and response to trauma as complementary service strategies in publicly funded early-learning programs. A principal goal of the program is to demonstrate professional development strategies that enhance early-learning system capacity to address the needs of trauma exposed children and their families in a sustainable and replicable model of development.

CA/NCF

The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project will develop and support practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The project will help communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the services continuum for children and their families. Exposure to violence includes being a victim of violence or a witness to violence, and encompasses abuse, neglect or child maltreatment, domestic violence, and community violence.
This program is authorized by Sections 261 and 262 of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (42 USC 5665-5666). The 10 pilot sites will test various evidence-based enhancements and practice innovations such as AF-CBT, TF-CBT, Strengthening Families Program, Coping Resources and other interventions in community-based settings such as DV shelters, libraries, Head Start, community mental health clinics and afterschool clubs. NCA/NCF

OJJDP has a specific mission to develop and disseminate knowledge about what works to prevent juvenile delinquency and violence and improve the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq authorizes the Administrator of OJJDP to conduct research or evaluations and undertake statistical analyses on a wide range of juvenile justice matters. OJJDP also provides funding to states and localities to carry out research, evaluation, and statistical analyses.

The Spokane project proposes a universal response strategy for children exposed to violence by integrating social emotional learning and response to trauma as complementary service strategies in publicly funded early learning programs. The principal goal of the program is to demonstrate professional development strategies that enhance early learning system capacity to address the needs of trauma-exposed children and their families in a sustainable and replicable model of development. Spokane is implementing three interventions: universal staff development activities for all Head Start staff in social-emotional learning, trauma awareness and management and crisis response; Circle of Security (COS) intervention; and Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) intervention. These interventions are based on developmental theory but have not been formally evaluated.

In a professional development program, they address knowledge of social emotional learning and trauma and application of these practices in Head Start and a companion state early learning program (ECEAP). Impact of this systems change effort is evaluated using surveys, qualitative interviews, and multiyear interrupted time series analyses using Head Start programmatic information.
Spokane Safe Start has introduced universal screening of child and parent adverse childhood experiences to identify risk in the population and impact on children's progress in Head Start. Risk information is linked to Head Start program data to examine the impact of risk on child outcomes.
Among voluntary high risk families, they are also testing the value of introducing two intervention programs delivered by early learning staff: the Circle of Security (COS) and the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (ARC) Model. Both models are psycho-educational interventions intended to improve parent adjustment, parent-child relationship and child development in families. This project will recruit and assign 900 trauma-exposed volunteer families to three groups: enhanced early learning care without specialized intervention, enhanced early learning with COS, and enhanced early learning with ARC. Program partners include: Community Colleges of Spokane Head Start/Early Head Start/ECEAP, Circle of Security authors, and the Justice Resource Institute Trauma Center developers of the ARC Model.

CA/NCF

This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for research and evaluation activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.

The Safe Start Promising Approaches project supports the development and study of the practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The eight continuation projects serve as the practice pilots for a multi-site national evaluation using experimental and quasi-experimental research design to test the effectiveness of new approaches to improve outcomes for children exposed to violence in real world community-based settings. The national evaluation is being conducted by RAND and supported through OJJDP research funding. The project helps communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the service continuum.
Exposure to violence and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are powerful social and health risk factors. As ACEs increase, risk of lifelong social and health problems increase including higher lifetime risk of criminal behavior and transmission of violence exposure to the next generation. Exposure to violence impacts up to one in three children nationally with a resulting public health and public safety crisis in the United States. Systems like Head Start can play a critical role in helping by recognizing and better managing how trauma resulting from exposure to violence effects children's development and behavior.
Spokane Safe Start provides a universal response strategy for children exposed to violence. We integrate professional development and systems improvement efforts specialized trauma treatment services delivered by Head Start staff to the most vulnerable families. Washington State University leads in project in association with Spokane Head Start, a large urban Head Start program. In Spokane Safe Start, we introduced screening for exposure to violence and other adverse life experiences as a standard practice. We confirmed that ACEs in parents and children are common at very high levels of exposure. With nearly 500 screenings completed at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, 60% of parents experienced three or more ACEs when growing up. We also find that one-in-three of Head Start children ages 3-5 have already experienced three or more ACEs. As ACEs increase in children, developmental problems in social adjustment and school readiness increase significantly. As a result, we confirm that ACEs are pervasive in this nonclinical population of children, and ACEs directly impact development in young children. When children are identified with significant violence exposure, we also test the value of two voluntary interventions programs delivered by Head Start staff: the Circle of Security (COS) and the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (ARC) Model. Both interventions are psychoeducational interventions intended to improve parent adjustment, parent-child relationship, and child development in families. In a randomized control trial, we are enrolling up to 900 trauma exposed volunteer families in three groups: Head Start standard care enhanced with professional skills development to address trauma, enhanced early learning with COS, and enhanced early learning with ARC. The success of the interventions is tested using the assessment practices that are part of the national Safe Start multisite research program supported by the Department of Justice.
NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 12, 2010