At United Way, we view parenting as the process of promoting and supporting the healthy development of children. The goal of United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative is to build protective factors for children and families by creating trauma-informed care strategies and supports to help children be successful in school and in life. Research has demonstrated that at the root of difficult and challenging behavior is the impact that traumatic events, or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), have on the lower parts of the brain that are responsible for sensory integration and self-regulation1. Children who have significant ACEs often demonstrate behavioral issues in child care and school settings, as well as emotional instability, health risks, and disease which occur later in life2. Locally, approximately 46% of Philadelphia adults have experienced one to three ACEs and 37.3% have experienced four or more ACEs3. Since children spend the majority of their day with teachers, and because one in four children have experienced or witnessed an event that could be deemed potentially traumatic, it is imperative that teachers are trauma-informed4.
When teachers and professionals that work with children and families are trauma-informed, they are able to provide services that are sensitive to a child or parent’s experiences and apply specific approaches and skills that promote health and healing from trauma.
To prevent, mitigate and heal the impact of trauma, United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative supports families and builds a trauma-informed workforce through:
- Trauma-informed care and parenting education training for early childhood teachers, school district staff, and health and human service providers (i.e. child welfare, homeless shelters, domestic violence, juvenile justice) to help build common language and trauma-informed approaches across sectors
- Parenting education for parents whose children are enrolled in a Success By 6® center or through one of United Way’s Impact partners
- Trauma Studies certification and coursework at local universities for early childhood educators
- Certification for mental health clinicians, pediatricians, psychologists and child psychiatrists in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics©, an assessment tool that creates brain-maps to inform the sequence and duration of existing evidenced-based interventions and activities with children and families
For more information on United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative, contact Suzanne O’Connor at 215-665-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.