May 2017

Does Dad Time With Infants Boost Babies' IQ? [Consumer.HealthDay.com]

If you're a new father, spending plenty of time with your baby could boost his or her mental development, a new study suggests. British researchers looked at how 128 fathers interacted with their infants at 3 months of age. When the kids turned 2, the researchers measured their mental development. Infants whose fathers were more engaged and active when playing with them in their first few months of life did better on thinking skills tests at age 2 than other infants. Many factors have a...

LA County Puts Thousands of Kids on ‘Voluntary’ Probation for Merely Struggling With School [JJIE.org]

Marbella Munoz was a foster child for most of her life. As is true for many foster children bounced through multiple placements, she was frequently forced to change schools. Despite the repeated changes, Munoz said she managed to keep up her grades. When she was 17, school administrators told her she had been referred to a program called “school-based supervision.” The “supervision” was not provided by a school guidance counselor or a teacher but by a juvenile probation officer. [For more of...

New Trauma-informed curriculum for training ministries now available as an instant digital download!!

I have been blessed by the response to the curriculum "Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks," now having sent it out to ministries in 26 States and the District of Columbia. I have already received a little feedback and made some minor changes to content, but what I am most excited about is that t he curriculum is now available in a downloadable digital format! For those that have not seen previous posts on the curriculum, the study is for adult small groups or classes and is laid out into the...

Why Spanking is an ACE

Child abuse and neglect are among adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that are commonly included in ACEs research. Also, included in the ACEs research are other types of household dysfunction or challenges such as parental divorce or substance use. A large ACEs literature exists that shows that ACEs are related to an increased likelihood of many poor health and social outcomes. Although these studies have included physical abuse defined as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting...

Kicked out of a charter school? Deal struck in Sacramento on bill spelling out your rights [SCPR.org]

Parents who believe their child is being "counseled out" of a charter school in California could soon have the right to request a hearing to challenge the student's removal. This provision is part of a broader deal State Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) brokered between charter school lobbyists and teachers union leaders in Sacramento, potentially paving the way for state lawmakers to change state laws governing charter schools' enrollment or discipline policies this session. The deal would...

Combatting years of wartime trauma with a different sort of warrior pose [WashingtonPost.com]

In a quiet room in Old Town Alexandria the students sit quietly on mats, facing an altar with mala beads and a meditation singing bowl. For the next eleven days they will spend most of their waking hours together, bonding as they go through rigorous training to become yoga teachers. It might be any teacher training program in this yoga-obsessed metropolitan area, but look at the students snap to when the teacher says, “Eyes front.” See how the guest lecturer’s “’Morning, everyone,” elicits a...

'This is a public health epidemic:' Experts speak to state commission on preventing childhood trauma in Virginia [Richmond.com]

Childhood traumatic experiences have strong links to dozens of adult health conditions, such as HIV, heart disease and cancer. In states that track such data, childhood trauma is considered a cause in between 11 and 89 percent of those health conditions. On average, whenever a toxin impacts more than 10 percent of health conditions, awareness grows and lawmakers, advocates and public health officials become interested in how to stop it to save lives, said Allison Sampson-Jackson. [For more...

Children of Incarcerated Parents and Academic Success [Blogs.NCTE.org]

This blog post is about the complex relationship between a parent’s incarceration and a child’s academic success. For me this relationship is personal and scholastic. I was in fifth grade when my father, a lawyer, received a two-to-five year prison sentence for larceny. Although my family was confronted with the same challenges other families face when a parent is incarcerated (i.e. housing and food insecurity, inadequate heath care, childcare challenges, etc.), we also had considerable...

The steps that can help adults heal from childhood trauma [TheConversation.com]

Prevention is the mantra of modern medicine and public health. Benjamin Franklin said it himself: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Unfortunately, childhood adversities such as abuse and neglect cannot be prevented by vaccinations. As we now know, a large proportion of adults go through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and can exhibit symptoms such as substance abuse. The symptoms seen in adults can in turn expose the next generation to adverse outcomes – creating a...

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline [NPR.org]

If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters. Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting. That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at...

On My Mind: Adverse childhood events and self-soothing [MVTimes.com]

At least once a month, as part of the MV Times’ ongoing Mental Illness series , Dr. Charles Silberstein will write a column that directly addresses issues Islanders have with mental health. Dr. Silberstein is a psychiatrist at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. There is an article that is being shared a lot on Martha’s Vineyard. It is about an addiction specialist who suggests that as assuredly as people bleed after being cut, a child who is abused seeks comfort. And for people who have had...

Awareness to Action in Athens, Georgia

A tree of resilience and leaves of individual messages created by summit participants in Athens, GA A few months ago, I left my very comfortable life in sunny San Diego in pursuit of a new career opportunity in Atlanta, Georgia. There were many questions running through my mind about what this new adventure in the South would bring, and one of those questions had me wondering what was happening in Georgia in regards to awareness and understanding of ACEs and the implementation of...

Real Awards that Promote Toxic Stress and How to Respond

Life is hard enough. Too many people live in poverty. Too many children are not supported emotionally (or economically) by their parents or guardians. Childhood illnesses run rampant in certain communities. Young people are often exposed to situations within their homes or communities that they should not witness ever: drug use, overuse of alcohol, shootings and stabbings, physical abuse (of others and perhaps personally), verbal abuse, mental illness including deep depression, unemployment...

From the Field Toolbox: The Necessary Ingredients in a Youth Employment Mix [JJIE.org]

As with almost every social undertaking, youth employment involves numerous stakeholders, each of which has its own perspective, goals, issues and vested interests. Youth, employers, parents, funders and the community at large can come together at the same table to participate in the adolescent work experience. That doesn’t mean they’ll all order from the same menu. It’s difficult to prove what juvenile crime rates might be in the absence of a youth employment program. However, there seems...

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