Abstract: Examining the Effectiveness of Trauma-Informed Early Intervention in Rural Schools (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

281P Examining the Effectiveness of Trauma-Informed Early Intervention in Rural Schools

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Jiyoung Tabone, Assistant Professor, West Virginia University
Carrie Rishel, Professor, West Virginia University
Helen Hartnett, Professor, West Virginia University
Kathy Szafran, President/CEO, Crittenton Services of West Virginia, Inc
Background and Purpose: Trauma-informed prevention has been gaining recognition as a critical component of a comprehensive strategy to effectively address the current opioid epidemic. Particularly, Trauma-Informed Elementary Schools (TIES), is designed to bring trauma-informed services to early elementary classrooms by working collaboratively with the school and child’s family in order to create trauma-informed school environments and to link services at school and home for a comprehensive and consistent intervention plan. This study examined the effectiveness of the TIES program in cultivating a trauma-sensitive school climate and culture in a rural state that reports a high rate of parental opioid-overdose as well as early childhood-trauma experiences.        

Methods: A total of 94 classrooms including pre-K, Kindergarten, and first grade in 11 schools participated in the TIES program, from 2015 to 2019, in northern West Virginia. The CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) was used to evaluate the activity of the classrooms in the beginning of school year (baseline) and the end of school year (follow-up) over three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Scores and magnitude of change from TIES classrooms were analyzed in relation to the comparison classrooms. Comparison classrooms were selected from the same schools and grade levels as the TIES classrooms but did not receive the TIES intervention. Two-factor mixed ANOVA models were used to examine significant within- and between-group differences from baseline to follow-up in both groups.

Results: Preliminary results indicate that classrooms receiving the TIES program showed a significant improvement when examined in relation to the comparison classrooms. TIES classrooms demonstrated a significant increase from the baseline to follow-up point (within-group difference), and the changes found in TIES classrooms were significantly different from comparison classrooms (between-group difference).

Conclusions and Implications: Trauma-informed early intervention services are a critical prevention strategy for children who experience trauma. The current study suggests significant beneficial effects of TIES services for young children impacted by trauma exposure. Implications for effective prevention strategies for children who experience trauma as related to changing their life trajectories are discussed.