Child Abuse Prevention in Early Education
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, an essential reminder that the collective work of communities can make a positive difference in keeping children safe. Child care providers are a vital part of the work of prevention. High quality early child care environments foster connection, safety and promote positive long-term outcomes. Providers have the great responsibility of supporting children in their care and the larger family unit. Professional development trainings on child abuse and trauma can build a provider’s skills around supports and interventions for families and safe and inclusive environments for children.
Building Safe and Inclusive Environments
Safe and inclusive environments are ones that recognize their students’ various needs, abilities, and experiences and work to address them. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework can help providers achieve this. The Protective Factors are five research-based characteristics that help keep children and families strong and safe.
Five Protective Factors:
- Social and emotional competence of children – Children’s ability to regulate and communicate emotions and build secure attachments taught through child/adult interactions and modeled behaviors
- Knowledge of child development – Understanding physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional milestones and developmentally appropriate behaviors and abilities
- Parental resilience – Building resilience through stress management and proactive responses to challenges
- Social connections – Positive and supportive relationships from a variety of sources
- Concrete support in times of need- Access to essential and tangible supports
In growing their understanding of the Protective Factors, providers can more readily engage with families in a strength-based way. Trainings are available through QSSB and partner CCRC, including one on April 28th.
Educators know that abuse is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), and ACES are traumatic events that are proven determinants of negative long-term social and health outcomes. Through continuing education, child care providers can strengthen their skills around childhood trauma and help negate the long-term effects of ACES. This summer, the California Surgeon General will release “Safe Spaces: Foundations of Trauma-Informed for Educational and Care Settings.” The self-paced and free online training module will focus on awareness of and strategies for early care and education personnel in response to childhood trauma. The training will be available to early educators through California Early Childhood Online (CECO). Stay tuned to QSSB materials, calendar, and social networks for the most up-to-date information.
Additional trainings and resources:
While waiting for the Safe Spaces modules to release, check out CECO’s professional development catalog, which includes Culturally Responsive Trauma-Informed Practices and Creating Brave Spaces: Disrupting Implicit Bias in Early Care and Education.
The California Department of Social Services has more on the shared responsibility to lower the risk factors of child abuse in their Collective Perspective to Community Supporting training on April 26 and in their CAPMonth-Brochure.