Important Trauma-Informed Resources and Interventions for Caregivers
We know so much about trauma, and yet that information is not always communicated to those who need it most: parents, temporary caregivers, child workers, facility administrators. These important, trauma-informed resources and interventions were compiled by Stacey Mietus.
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Enormous thank you to Stacey Mietus for compiling this digest of trauma-informed interventions.
We fervently hope that, ultimately, every effort will be made to reunite families, but - in the meantime - here are some trauma-informed interventions to share with anyone allowed access to these children, the centers where children are being held, the workers within those facilities; to share - in short - with anyone who can get close to those kids. And to share with parents once they are reunited with their children, because their children will have been changed by this trauma, and parents need education and support moving forward.
We know so much about trauma, and yet that information is not always communicated to those who need it most: parents, temporary caregivers, child workers, facility administrators. Help get the word out!
From Child Mind Institute out of NY, tips on buoying resilience, including: maximizing safety; creating predictable routines; play, play, and more play, but also emphasizing relaxation; limiting exposure to news/media that may be re-traumatizing; and not making promises you can't keep or giving untrue information (don't be afraid to say, "I don't know"). Read more here.
Another free resource from Child Mind Institute, the Guide to Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event. This includes age-specific information broken down as follows: ages 0-2 years, 2-5 years, 6-11 years, and 12-18 years. You can get this free if you enter your email - follow this link. (Available in multiple languages.)
From the VA's National Center for PTSD, Early Mental Health Interventions for Disasters, an emphasis on "protect, direct, and connect," meaning creating and maximizing safety and the meeting of basic needs (protect), communicating in a "kind and firm" manner that instills confidence in children (direct) and creating what connection is possible between children and supportive adults (connect). Additionally, it is important to support and promote children's' inherent strengths and resilience and to let children tell their stories - with each other and with supportive adults - as many times as they need to. Read more here.
Also from the VA's National Center for PTSD, Psychological First Aid, here are links to "Parent Tips" on how to deal with sleep changes, behavior changes, new-onset aggression, regression, and more. This information can be used for child worker education and adaptation until such time as reunification occurs, and will also be vital for parents post-reunification:
- For infants and toddlers
- For pre-school age children
- For school-age children
- For adolescents
- Also some basic relaxation techniques for child workers, parents, and kids
From Boomerang Health, here are 10 ways to promote healthy emotion regulation. Again, this is intended for parents, but would be useful for child workers, and - ultimately - for parents as they're reunited with children. Some ideas include: helping kids label emotions and having emotion-vocabulary-heavy books available, modeling good coping and self-care, and "sitting in the mud" with kids when needed (when big emotions overcome available coping resources). Read more here.
Finally, from North Carolina's Child Welfare Services, here are 9 trauma-informed activities to put in place, some of which include: maximizing safety, helping children manage overwhelming emotions, supporting what positive relationships are present, and (for child workers) managing personal and professional stress. Read more here.