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ACEs, children, adults, research on Teaching Adult Wary Children and Youth

Secure, trusting bonds are essential if young people are to grow, learn, and thrive (Baumeister, 2011; Brendtro, Brokenleg, & Van Bockern, 2005; Shulevitz, 2013).

Today there are literally millions of young people disconnected and living in violent communities with over stressed families and schools that are depersonalized. They traverse dangerous communities and the ecology in which they live is one of extreme levels of toxic stress.

The most troubled and troubling kids display behaviors that increase their disconnection and also increase their alienation from caring adults.  These kids get kicked out of everything and often as they get into high school are expelled  to nowhere.

Youth at risk experience pervasive emotional pain and react with pain-based behavior (Anglin, 2014).

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10 Simple Steps for Reducing Toxic Stress in the Classroom

We all know that when children aren’t well, they’re less likely to learn.

More and more teachers recognize that children who can’t sit still in class, act out, or have asthma may be showing warning signs of a toxic exposure to childhood trauma.

More than two decades ago, landmark research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente found that exposure to adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs—ranging from parental addiction to abuse, neglect, or divorce—can have lasting effects on children’s health. These ACEs can lead to abnormal levels of stress hormones—a condition known by doctors as toxic stress, which increases kids’ risk of serious illnesses including asthma and diabetes, as well as long-term problems including heart disease and cancer later in life.

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What Is a ‘Trauma-Informed’ Juvenile Justice System? A Targeted Approach

Adolescence is a time of great opportunity, but also turmoil. As many as two-thirds of all teens face the additional challenge of coping with traumatic events such as life-threatening accidents, injuries, illness, disaster, or violence or sexual or emotional abuse and exploitation. That figure rises to closer to 100 percent for those who live in families or communities in which violence, poverty, neglect, racism or discrimination based on gender, gender identity or disability are prevalent.

Not surprisingly, 90-plus percent of youths involved in juvenile justice have experienced at least one (and typically several) of these traumatic stressors, and as many as 25 to 33 percent of these youth (compared to 5 percent in community samples) have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Runaway and Homeless Youth, Mental Health, and Trauma-Informed Care

Young people run away or become homeless for a variety of reasons, many of which can be linked to psychological and emotional trauma. Whether it’s abuse, the consequences of living in poverty, a lack of empathy and support for their self-identity, or some combination of the three, runaway and homeless youth (RHY) often experience significant challenges to their happiness and well-being. Many confront this situation even before they encounter the perils of setting off on their own. Once they run away,  they are susceptible to a host of additional dangers and health risks, many of which can exact additional tolls on their mental health.

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Earlier always better? Child development researchers question old assumption

It’s always worth revisiting what we think we know.

In recent years, there’s been a trend among early childhood researchers to keep moving the focus to earlier and earlier in children’s lives. The storyline might go something like this: Sure, grade school matters, but we need to think about high-quality preschools to level the playing field. Actually, preschool is too late — the interactions kids have with their parents in the first years of life are really what’s crucial for development. Then again, that may be a bit belated: A mother’s experience of stress and depression when a baby is in utero can shape that child’s brain and eventual mental health. Before you know it, a mother’s own childhood is casting a dark spell on the unborn’s future prospects for a healthy life.

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Inside Girls Court, Washington State’s first therapeutic court model for girls

Over the past two decades, while juvenile incarceration rates have been decreasing, rates of incarcerated girls have either stayed the same, or increased.

In response, the Kitsap County Girls Court opened in June 2019 as Washington state’s first court system providing service just for girls.

A few months ago, I went to see Girls Court in action.

Girls Court is held in a small courtroom in Kitsap County. But despite the judicial setting, the day I visited, the atmosphere was light.

People were chatty, greeting one another with hugs and laughter. A snack cart sat by the door.

“After having, like, a bad day or something, knowing I am going to Girls Court kinda put me in a better mood,” said Hannah Rayfield, a 16-year-old who is one of just over 20 girls who have participated in the program since its opening.

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5 Ways Trauma-Informed Care Supports Children’s Development

Childhood trauma is common. More than two thirds of children in the United States experience a traumatic event or circumstances—such as abuse or neglect, death of a loved one, or community violence—by the time they turn 16. Young children (birth to age five), in particular, are disproportionately exposed to traumatic events and circumstances.

While many children return to normal functioning after a traumatic event, others show symptoms of posttraumatic stress. These children are more likely to suffer harmful long-term consequences, including serious impairments in mental and physical health, when not met with understanding and trauma-appropriate responses from adults.

Trauma-informed care (TIC) encompasses a variety of approaches to working with children exposed to traumatic events or conditionsResearch suggests that TIC is associated with considerable benefits for children and their families, including reductions in children’s behavior problems and posttraumatic stress.

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Substance Abuse Doc Says Stop Chasing the Drug Focus on ACEs

He says: Addiction shouldn’t be called “addiction”. It should be called “ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking”.

He says: Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed.

He says: The solution to changing the illegal or unhealthy ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking behavior of opioid addiction is to address a person’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) individually and in group therapy; treat people with respect; provide medication assistance in the form of buprenorphine, an opioid used to treat opioid addiction; and help them find a ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking behavior that won’t kill them or put them in jail.

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Why We Need to Change Our Stories About Addiction

Recovery is about stories. Stories of hope, stories of change.

In addiction, the stories we tell about ourselves do not tend to have happy endings. Rarely are we the authors of our own journeys, and if we were to assign ourselves a character, it would not be the hero/ine. More often we see ourselves as the villain, or the victim, or a combination of both. Sadly, in recovery we often continue to tell ourselves stories that keep us stuck. Sit in your average 12-step meeting and you are likely to hear the same story shared over and over again; only the names and places are much different.

Sit in them for too long and you may find yourself, as I did, subtly altering your own tale of recovery to fit the dominant narrative: you have a disease that is “doing push-ups” as you speak, getting stronger even as you recover day by day; without the group, without a mysterious Higher Power, you are powerless, defect-ridden, and utterly self-centered. You must call yourself an addict forever, lest you forget.

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War on Drugs an Epic Fail

Addiction is a health issue, not a moral failing, and physicians need to champion public policy changes that put treatment first and reverse the “absurd” focus on the war against drugs, which has never and will never work, say editors of the BMJ. “All wars cause human rights violations and the war on drugs is no different,” write Fiona Godlee, MD, editor-in-chief, and Richard Hurley, features and debates editor of the BMJ.

The editorial was published online November 14 in the BMJ. Docs Can Make a Difference Criminals who control the supply of drugs are responsible for “appalling violence” that has resulted in 65,000 to 80,000 murders in Mexico alone during the past 10 years.

In the United States, putting drug users in prison for even minor offenses has led to the highest incarceration rates in the world, and thousands have been killed in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte called for brutal vigilantism against those who deal drugs. They note that the war on drugs is costing society at least $100 billion annually, yet it has clearly failed to make a dent in either the supply or demand of illicit drugs or reduce addiction rates or harm.

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