Trauma-Informed Supports for Early Childhood Professionals

July 29, 2022
Mother holding baby

As directed by the Fair Start for Kids Act (FSKA), the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is launching a comprehensive effort to grow trauma-informed and healing-centered supports for early childhood professionals.
To build protective factors among Washington kids, FSKA trauma-informed supports will be available to certified, licensed, and license-exempt providers, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program staff, and Early Achievers coaches. To identify needed trauma-informed supports, DCYF uses the Liberatory Design framework as a model for collaborating with providers, asking them what types of trauma-informed supports would be most helpful. DCYF has convened a technical advisory group of subject matter experts to guide the work.

Why Trauma-Informed Care is a Priority

Trauma yields vast human, institutional, and financial costs. People with early severe adversities often experience state systems, including child welfare, justice, and public and behavioral health systems. 
In Washington, nearly one-in-three individuals experience at least three potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The impacts of colonization and systemic racism have left children of color affected by early adversities.

What DCYF is doing with FSKA

Through the partner consultation process, DCYF is establishing compensation for individual staff who acquire trauma-informed knowledge, skills, and education. DCYF is also working to establish trauma-informed professional competencies that may be used to identify an individual's skills or professional learning development needs.

In partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the University of Washington's Haring Center and Cultivate Learning, DCYF will launch updated Pyramid Model birth-3 training, which provides a framework for early childhood professionals to grow social-emotional development.

DCYF will also be expanding developmental screening trainings and tools, such as a Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Fundamentals training that will be added to Child Care Basics training that is required of all early learning professionals.

For more information on DCYF's efforts to grow trauma-informed supports, email Jess Mayrer at