Guiding Principles and Definitions

The competency development group was guided by the defining principles of the Multiplying Connections Initiative:

Honor children’s relationships

Promote relational health for children and families

Close/reduce the developmental gap experienced by many trauma-exposed children by intervening during the 0 to 5 ages

Increase (front-line workers’ and families’) knowledge and skills for supporting typical brain development as well as trauma-affected development

Build resilience/protective factors for children using evidence-based practice 

Core competency was defined as:

The knowledge, attitude and skills that all adults who work with very young children (0 to 5) need to have to be able to provide care and create a system that is trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate for children and their families.

The workgroup used an adapted definition of trauma informed care based on the work of Maxine Harris and Roger Fallot (Harris & Fallot, 2001) and a definition of developmentally appropriate care from the National Association of Educators of Young Children (National Association for the Education of Young Children, n.d.)

Trauma-Informed Services are not designed to treat symptoms or syndromes related to adverse experiences including sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing violence.  Rather, regardless of their primary mission – to deliver education, health and behavioral health care or provide housing supports or employment counseling, for example – their commitment is to adopt a universal approach to trauma and provide services in a manner that is welcoming and appropriate for all, including  individuals and families who have experienced trauma.

Developmentally Appropriate Services consider the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of each child in all aspects of service delivery and understand both universal age appropriateness - predictable sequences of growth in children (e.g. children walk before they run) and individual age appropriateness—the unique sequence of growth of each child which takes into account the personality, learning style and background and culture of each child (e.g. one child learns to walk at 10 months of age, another learns to walk at 14 months of age).