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PACEs in Early Childhood

Giving traumatized kids a head start in healing [PBS News Hour]

Every year, thousands of children in the U.S. are expelled from school before they reach kindergarten. PBS News Hour special correspondent Molly Knight Raskin reports on the Head Start-Trauma Smart program in Kansas City, Missouri, that’s trying to stem the trend by looking beyond the classroom to the issues these children face at home -- and helping them to feel safe.


RENEE SILVER, School Therapist: She was a very angry child. She would tantrum, she would scream, she would whine, she would complain of things bothering her that might not normally bother a child.

MOLLY KNIGHT RASKIN: Renee Silver is a school therapist who worked individually with Desiree.

RENEE SILVER: She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She would want to do things when she wanted to do them. She did everything she could to try and gain control.

MOLLY KNIGHT RASKIN: In most classrooms, Desiree’s behavior would be met with harsh discipline, but in this Head Start school, the teachers don’t punish kids for acting out. That’s because all these children, including Desiree, have experienced at least one traumatic event in their short lifetimes.

JANINE HRON, CEO, Crittenton Children’s Center: This would be separation from parents. This would be incarcerated parents, substance abuse or untreated mental illness in the home, witnessing violent interactions, being abused themselves.


To read the full transcript and watch the video:


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