Health
11:35 am
Thu August 12, 2010

Addressing Violence At A Young Age: Local Head Starts Incorporate Trauma Therapy

Young children dealing with trauma will soon find more support inside area classrooms.

Crittenton Children's Center, a local mental health agency, developed a Head Start trauma program about two years ago. It focuses on treating kids in the classroom environment and training school staff on how to better identify and help kids who've been exposed to violence.

The program's now in about a dozen Head Starts in Wyandotte county. Crittenton recently received more than a million dollars to expand the program into parts of Jackson County where crime rates are especially high.

Janine Hron directs Crittenton. She says providing therapy to kids who've experienced trauma at a young age is really important.

"Without treatment and without intervention, the connections necessary for an individual to regulate their own emotional state, or their ability to simply concentrate and remain on task - those things become damaged or never develop," says Hron. "If we can intervene early and make the connections that they need to stay on track, then they don't fall behind in school. Then they don't become labeled the bad child. Then they don't have all these negative repercussions."

Hron says the new funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as several local foundations will allow the program to reach at least a thousand kids a year.

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