By Ellen Galinsky, Brookings Institute, October 23, 2019
The focus on “toxic stress,” ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and trauma-informed care have been game-changers in the field of early childhood development. They have helped us recognize the symptoms of trauma, provide appropriate assistance to children, and understand that prolonged adversity in the absence of nurturing relationships can derail a child’s healthy development. Just look at the media’s and the public’s reaction to the impact of separating families at our southern border or at Florida’s statewide trauma-informed initiative as compelling examples of how these concepts have led to change.
So, given these positive results, it may be a surprise that I propose expanding beyond these problem-focused, trauma-laced concepts to narratives and solutions that are rooted in children’s and families’ assets. Here’s my journey—why I have come to these conclusions—as well as examples of solutions.