Forest City, NC – Experiencing violence, abuse or neglect as a child has a long-term impact that may extend into adulthood, significantly increasing the risk of chronic disease, mental illness, and violence. Recently Partnership for Children of the Foothills (PCF) hosted nearly 50 childcare center directors and front-line teachers from Polk and Rutherford counties for a training session to learn how to identify when children are experiencing these kinds of traumatic events, known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
“This event was designed to equip directors and teaching staff with strategies to identify ACEs,” said Cathy Brooks, director of programs for PCF. “Often what may seem to be difficult or unruly behavior is a cry for help. Our immediate goal is to provide childcare professionals with the information they need to help vulnerable children with the goal of helping these children become healthy adults.”
PFC Director Barry Gold welcomed all the participants and acknowledged the important role they play in the lives of children, extending appreciation for the dedicated work they do. He emphasized how challenging it is as a parent and touched upon ACEs and how it takes people in their (childcare) role, to help increase the resiliency in young children. Mr. Gold then introduced speaker Deidre McMahon, Regional CCR & R Services Director, with the Southwestern Child Development Commission, as she detailed out the types of ACEs, including:
- Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
- Neglect (physical, emotional)
- Household dysfunction (mental illness, incarceration, spousal abuse, substance abuse, divorce, and more)
Along with understanding ACEs, participants learned the role they can play in helping a child exhibiting signs of these experiences.
“When children have one older person, they know cares about their well-being, they are better able to cope and build resilience,” said Brooks. “Often children are in childcare for more hours in the day than they are at home. Childcare providers trained to understand ACEs can play an important part in helping at-risk children.”
“I think everyone should be informed of the ACEs project,” said attendee Chasity Ervin. “Imagine how we feel when stressed, and then imagine going through that as a small child or young adult. It definitely makes me want to reach out and dig deeper into the child’s life.”
Information also was provided about how mental health services, social services, home visits, and school liaisons can protect and help children.
“Until this training session, I was unaware of what ACEs are. I can take this information and look at the whole child, not just their behavior, and seek the means to help them and their parents,” said attendee Barbara Forney.
More information on training and resources for childcare center directors and teachers is available by visiting www.pfcfoothills.org.