Examining the effectiveness of the ARC training framework in the head start trauma smart program
Exposure to adverse childhood experiences has been shown to have detrimental effects on the physical, social, and psychological well-being of young children. Young children living in low-income communities are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, it is imperative that programs are available to prevent or intervene upon the effects of trauma exposure for this population. Head Start Trauma Smart (HSTS) is one prevention and early intervention program designed to support preschool children at risk of trauma exposure within a response-to-intervention multi-tiered framework. A key element of the HSTS program is staff training. HSTS has demonstrated success as an effective trauma- informed model when tested under controlled conditions. The current study was the first to evaluate HSTS in its dissemination phase across 42 preschools and Head Starts. The effectiveness of HSTS was evaluated by examining staff satisfaction with the training, post-training knowledge about trauma-informed care, and pre-to-post-training changes in attitudes favorable to trauma-informed care within a sample of 2,418 preschool teachers and staff who participated in HSTS training. Results found that school staff were highly satisfied with the training, demonstrated competence in core concepts related to trauma- informed care, and developed more favorable attitudes toward TIC following participation. The findings support HSTS as an effective intervention when implemented in low-income preschools in the context of dissemination.