Federal grant to expand trauma support for students and families

October 28, 2019

Thanks to a new federal grant, Delaware will expand its support for children who have experienced academic, social and behavioral health challenges as a result of exposure to trauma and toxic stress.

Gov. John Carney recently announced that Delaware will receive almost $7.5 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Trauma Recovery Demonstration Project Grant Program.

Delaware’s project aims to strengthen collaborations among families, schools and mental health service providers. This new grant will build upon work already underway in the First State to support trauma-informed practices in schools, state agencies and other providers across Delaware. 

“We know that many Delaware children arrive at school each day with their own unique challenges. In many cases, that includes exposure to trauma,” said Carney. “It’s our job to help those children cope with the effects of trauma so they can focus on learning in the classroom. This grant will help us connect families, school leaders and health providers to make sure that Delaware children are receiving the best services possible.”

Through the grant, the Delaware Department of Education will: increase screening for a larger population of students to identify those experiencing trauma; augment immediately available support services for identified children; strengthen partnerships with agencies that can provide additional short- and long-term services for referred students; and enhance understanding by teachers, staff and providers about signs and symptoms of trauma and broader adoption of a trauma-informed approach.

In October 2018, Carney signed Executive Order 24, directing the Family Services Cabinet Council to help mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences and build resilience in children, adults and communities.

The council is working to identify gaps in available services along the prevention and early intervention-treatment continuum for children and their caregivers statewide. Its members also are charged with developing a comprehensive plan focused on early intervention for children and their caregivers exposed to adverse childhood experiences in order to help prevent abuse and neglect.

Carney also worked with the General Assembly this year to pass a three-year, $75 million opportunity funding program that will support students from low-income families and English learners. The opportunity funding package sets aside $15 million for additional mental health and reading supports in Delaware schools. 

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