Specialized Education for Abused, Neglected, and Traumatized Children
Tennyson Center for Children at Colorado Christian Home, Denver, CO
Although the educational programming at our organization, the Tennyson Center for Children, effectively addresses the unique needs of abused and neglected children, we continue to experience greater complexity and acuity among the children we serve. Many struggle with trauma and co-occurring conditions such as a learning disability, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral difficulties that make it hard for them to learn in school. Children who cannot function in a classroom setting cause end up two to three grade levels behind their peers. In addition, students in our school move between foster homes frequently and are forced to re-establish themselves in new schools with every move. Studies show that every time a child moves, they lose six months of academic progress and most children have been through three and usually six moves – that's 18 months to three years of lost academic progress. This sets in motion a downward spiral for the child who loses educational momentum from which it is hard to recover.
Child welfare professionals have learned that children who fare best in the face of these adversities have resilience. Tennyson is seeking support to implement the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) framework in our school, which is based on the idea that trauma compromises childhood skills and competencies needed for resilience. The ACE study notes that resiliency is relative. Some children experience adverse circumstances and can adapt, become stronger, and grow into healthy adults. Other children cannot manage adverse experiences and become traumatized. ARC helps children build resilience so they can heal from trauma and progress academically. Funding will help support instructional staff, training, and the ARC curriculum. This model is not currently implemented in our city of Denver, CO. Implementing ARC at Tennyson will significantly impact how we provide education for traumatized children and will inform others in the sector making similar changes to their education programs."
Mission Area: At-Risk Children and Youth
Innovation Grant: US $15,000