Head Start staff have a unique window into the circumstances and needs of families. They may be the first to identify issues that signal a substance use disorder in families. It can be difficult to navigate these complex situations. Head Start staff can support recovery by taking advantage of opportunities to engage with families and provide resources to prevent harm to children.
Caring for Young Children Impacted by Substance Use
When parents or caregivers misuse substances, children are impacted. Staff, parents, and other caregivers can support and encourage resilience in children.
Review the implications of prenatal substance exposure for early childhood programs. Learn more about its prevalence, the impact on early development, screening and identification strategies, and improving outcomes for families.
Explore the risk factors and symptoms associated with opioid abuse and a list of interventions that can improve outcomes for children and teens affected by opioid exposure.
This e-book can help teachers and caregivers address the challenges of caring for children with chronic health conditions and special healthcare needs in child care and school settings.
Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young children who experience a tragic event may show changes in their behaviors. This tip sheet describes common behaviors children may exhibit in response to trauma.
Fostering Healing Through Trauma-Informed Practices
There is a strong link between exposure to traumatic events and substance use disorders. Many people who have experienced traumatic events use alcohol or drugs to help them deal with pain, feelings, and symptoms associated with trauma. Head Start programs can adopt trauma-informed practices and help reduce the impact of substance use on children and families.
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.
Review the evidence linking trauma and adverse childhood experiences (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.
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.
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.
Explore a wealth of resources for early childhood programs on topics such as ACEs, trauma-informed care, identifying signs and symptoms of trauma, and evidence-based interventions to address the effects of trauma in children.
Partnering with Head Start Programs to Support Families in Your Community
The entire community benefits when children and families are offered high-quality early education and comprehensive services. The Head Start Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC), mental health consultation, and partnership with the child's medical home can help ensure children and families receive high-quality comprehensive community services.
All Head Start and Early Head Start programs must establish and maintain an HSAC to support children's healthy development. Effective partnerships are key to the success of this approach. This collection of resources describes successful strategies for member recruitment, retention, and engagement.
HSACs assist Head Start programs in developing a philosophy for their health services. This resource will help health managers orient and train HSAC members for their critical role in the success of their program.
Infant early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) is an effective strategy for addressing young children's challenging behaviors. These training materials and handouts will help mental health and early education professionals teach families, staff, and community partners about the role of IECMHC in Head Start programs.
This webinar addresses the importance of strengthening collaboration between Head Start and Early Head Start programs and the healthcare system, including the medical home and local children's hospitals.
Head Start children and families face a number of challenges in meeting their medical and social needs. Learn how medical homes can connect families to additional supports, such as housing assistance and mental health or substance use disorder treatment.
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Last Updated: March 13, 2020