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Reports & Research

Translating the Science of Childhood Stress Into Youth Service Practice

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In this article, ICF experts Allison Hyra and Jessica Kendall talk about translating childhood stress into youth services and the science behind how the two go hand and hand.

A 2011 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice found that most American children have been exposed to violence in their homes, communities, or schools and 1 in 10 had been the victim of maltreatment- abuse, neglect, or abandonment. 

Research done on the child brain show that acute or prolonged exposures to these experiences affect a child’s brain development.  This neurological development is called “toxic stress.”  Toxic stress affects not only their childhood but can be carried out throughout the child’s life with factors affecting the response systems, disrupting hormones and brain development and long lasting emotional and behavioral effects. 

Organizations that work with and serve children and youth can become more trauma-informed by assessing their practices and procedures to the extent to which they have trauma screening, assessment, and service practices. 

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