Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative Launches New Toolkit

Parents, educators, and healthcare providers can use the toolkit to prevent and address childhood trauma

NEW YORK, JUNE 21, 2022 — Healthy and Ready to Learn (HRL), an initiative of Children’s Health Fund (CHF), today launched a set of online resources for parents, educators, and healthcare providers to prevent and address childhood trauma.

Trauma, when unaddressed, can affect a child’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development. The COVID-19 pandemic has further traumatized many children, particularly those living in low-income households. “Research shows that when children experience certain traumatic events, their brains and bodies respond to help them in the short-term. However, when those responses recur, persist, or lack appropriate support systems, the sustained change can lead to lifelong cognitive, physical, and emotional deficits, said Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, president and chief executive officer, Children’s Health Fund.

The tools, information, and resources available on the HRL website are designed to help build trauma-sensitive environments so children feel safe and supported, making it easier for them to learn, achieve, and develop. Those looking for resources will find interactive tools, including a series of images that, when clicked, highlight ways trauma affects parts of the body, provide parents ideas for making their homes feel safer, and guide teachers to make their classrooms more trauma sensitive. Also available are helpful fact sheets about trauma; summaries of best practices for addressing trauma at home and in school; and professional development guides for teachers and medical professionals.

Content is divided into three sections:

  • What Is Trauma? This section includes an overview of trauma and an interactive image that demonstrates how trauma can impact a child’s body.
  • Why is it Important? This section includes a summary of what can cause trauma and links to infographics on ways to support children who have experienced trauma.
  • What Can I Do? This section includes interactive images, tips, and action steps for creating trauma-sensitive environments at home, school, and pediatric clinics.

“No one person is immune to the impact of trauma and its hold on healthy psychosocial development,” said Peggy Castor, LMSW, HRL content and trainings manager. Ms. Castor adds, “It is important to reinforce positive familial attachments and create spaces that promote a child’s resilience and re-establish trust in their sense of self, and relationships that allow for balance. To quote poet Audre Lorde, ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation….’”

“We are pleased that our grant from the New York City Council helped make the trauma resources launched by Children’s Health Fund and Healthy and Ready to Learn come to fruition,” said Rita Joseph, New York City Council Representative for District 40 and Chair of the Education Committee. “We hope these tools will help not only the children, parents, teachers, and medical professionals of New York but anyone in search of guidance across the country who wants to create trauma-safe spaces. These are the innovative resources we need to guide how we think, learn, and listen because every child deserves a safe place to learn and grow. Thank you, Children’s Health Fund.”


About Healthy and Ready to Learn
Healthy and Ready to Learn was developed in 2014 by Children’s Health Fund to address health barriers to learning. Children’s Health Fund partners with elementary schools in all five New York City boroughs and in Puerto Rico to implement a comprehensive school-based model that incudes health services, technical assistance, an online resource and training center, and local and national advocacy efforts.

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