National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation
   

Trauma and Early Head Start and Head Start Children and Families

The Early Head Start and Head Start programs serve our most vulnerable children and families, including those who have experienced trauma.

FACT: According to the Head Start FACES 2000 report, almost 13 percent of the parents indicated that they have been victims of domestic violence. Almost 10 percent of the domestic violencechildren were reported to have witnessed domestic violence during the previous year. In FACES 2006, the most common type of violence was domestic violence—6 percent of children witnessed domestic violence and in both reports less than 2 percent were victims of domestic violence themselves.

FACT: According to the FACES 2000 report, less than 2 percent of the children were reported to have been victims of violent crime

FACT: According to the FACES 2000 report, almost one-fifth of the parents reported that someone in their household had been arrested and charged with a crime. Children in these families were more than three times more likely to have been a witness to violent crime or domestic violence in the past year. These children were also three times more likely to have been a victim of domestic violence or violent crime in the past year. According to FACES 2006, nearly a quarter of Head Start children have a member of their household who was arrested or charged with a crime during the child's lifetime.

FACT: According to a 2008 report of the Early Promotion and Intervention Research Consortium (E-PIRC), a Miami University project focused on mental health intervention in collaborating Early Head Start Programs working with 128 high-risk children and their families from Miami-Dade county, found that three-fourths (71%) of these 128 children had experienced at least one trauma such as:

  • child had a serious illness or injury (38%)
  • prolonged separation from their primary caregiver and/or a eviction and/or homelessness (23%)
  • the death of a close relative (21%)
  • the serious injury or illness of a close relative (11%)
  • involvement in a serious accident or witnessing one (9%)

About one-third of the children also were exposed to violence at home (39%) or in the community (30%). Some children (15%) witnessed a close relative being attacked or beaten. The study also found that 44% of the children were reported by parents to be experiencing trauma symptoms.

(Administration for Children & Families, Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, 2000, 2006; Early Promotion and Intervention Research Consortium (E-PIRC), 2008)

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