There is a strong link between exposure to traumatic events and substance use problems. Many people who have experienced traumatic events use alcohol or drugs to help them deal with pain, feelings, and symptoms associated with trauma. Conversely, people with alcohol or drug use problems are more likely to experience traumatic events than people who do not experience problems with drugs and alcohol.
Head Start programs can play a significant role in reducing the negative impacts of substance use and trauma on young children and their families. Programs can adopt trauma-informed practices and strategies such as creating a physically and emotionally safe space for children and families as well as understanding how trauma impacts children, families, staff, communities and systems.
Find guidance on creating trauma-informed child and family systems in which all parties recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress. Learn what children, caregivers, and service providers can do to facilitate the recovery of the family and support their ability to thrive.
This framework is designed for early education and other settings that have the potential to ease the effects of traumatic experiences. It provides guidance to helps systems "talk" to each other and better understand the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues. Use it to help program systems become trauma-informed.
Early childhood mental health consultants can help build trauma-informed services through programmatic consultation. Consultants can work with Head Start and Early Head Start administrators and staff to provide guidance and recommendations for professional development, program policy, and practices that will prepare them to work effectively with a high-risk and potentially traumatized population.
Explore a wealth of resources for early childhood programs on topics such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) trauma-informed care, identifying signs and symptoms of trauma, and evidence-based interventions to address the effects of trauma in children.
Learn about ways to identify children and families who have experienced trauma. Find resources to help caregivers and families prevent toxic stress, build resilience, and cope with and heal from traumatic events.
Trauma-Informed Approaches Need to be Part of a Comprehensive Strategy for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
Review the evidence linking trauma and ACEs to opioid addiction. This brief also provides examples of effective prevention and treatment programs and describes innovative approaches being used by communities to address the current epidemic.
Explore the systems- and practice-level changes that can be made to provide trauma-informed care. Learn about the Trauma-Informed Care Assessment Project and key strategies programs can implement to minimize trauma triggers for children and families.
Topic: Mental Health
National Centers:Early Childhood Health and Wellness
Last Updated: June 1, 2020