Trauma-Informed Care in Schools: Perspectives of Rural School District Employees after Trauma-Informed Care Training
Childhood trauma carries multiple implications that adversely impact children; not only does it negatively impact mental health and well-being, resulting in behavioral issues at home and in the classroom, but it also has lasting, negative consequences on an individual’s mental and physical health throughout their lifespan. Trauma-informed care (TIC) increases resilience and empowers children, and a trauma-informed school provides a safe and nurturing environment where all children have a chance to thrive. During this project a school-focused TIC intervention was identified, customized, and carried out for a rural Appalachian school district. The intervention was designed to guide educators in creating and supporting a TIC environment and to build on the self-care initiatives that already existed within the school district. The aim was to determine the change in perspectives and feelings of self-efficacy after a series of trauma-informed care training sessions for teachers and staff. The training was conducted in four one-hour sessions via Zoom, and pre-, post-, and follow-up surveys were administered to participants to determine changes in perception and attitude as well as self-efficacy, using the ARTIC10 and NGSE tools respectively. Participants' satisfaction with the training methodology and content was also evaluated in the post-survey. Participants in the study had statistically significant changes in their attitudes and perception in the post-survey (p = .003), as well as in their self-efficacy (p = .045). When asked about their satisfaction with the training sessions 29% (N=10) of the respondents were very satisfied and 44% (N=15) were satisfied with the material and sessions, and none of the participants indicated any level of dissatisfaction with the experience. This translational research project demonstrates that implementing an evidence-based TIC curriculum for educators improves attitudes, perception, and self-efficacy and results in high levels of satisfaction. Despite the challenges of an online forum in an area with limited broadband access attendees were able to participate in the training sessions and benefit from the material. The findings from this project imply that similar interventions could be beneficial in other school districts impacted by high levels of childhood trauma.
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