New Initiative Will Train City Workers to Help Children Who Have Suffered Traumatic Events

As the city receives scrutiny over the beating death of two young boys in recent months, NY1 gets an exclusive look at the launch of a new program designed to help teachers and caregivers. NY1's Lindsey Christ joins us now with the details.

The city's first lady launched a new initiative Saturday helping teachers and caregivers help children dealing with trauma — it will train thousands of early childhood teachers and staff members on how to help kids deal with trauma.

Training will begin next month in all of the city's early childhood centers through the Administration for Children's Services.

The centers serve nearly  40,000 city children from low-income families. National studies have shown that 25 percent of children will experience trauma by age four. The rate can be even higher in disadvantaged communities. The city wants to equip teachers and caregivers with the skills deal with difficult emotional events — as well as the normal challenges of learning how to regulate emotional challenges and feelings.

The project is part of the city's $850 million Thrive NYC initiative to address mental health.

"Children need to learn the skills so they can become resilient because you know, let's face it, life is tough," said first lady Chirlane McCray. "If our children know how to identify their emotions, they know how to express them in a healthy way, it helps them to develop more secure relationships."

"It's so important because we now that 90 percent of a child's brain is developed in the very early years from zero to three and so it's important that we provide these skills and support to parents very early on," said ACS Commissioner Gladys Carion.

McCray announced the program at a family event at the Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services in the South Bronx.

Families were given resources on how to build strong social emotional skills. Parents say the resources were helpful. Teachers say they're looking forward to the training.

The model for the program is a similar initiative in Kansas City that's been in place since 2008.  

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