West Virginia State Senate bill pushes for statewide trauma-informed practices grades K-12

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A new bill introduced in the West Virginia State Senate could help support the youngest victims of the opioid crisis through the education system. Senate Bill 590 will help do that by implementing “trauma-informed practices” in every school in West Virginia grades k -12.

“Anything we can put in these children’s lives right now to wrap our arms around them, if you would, is a good thing,” says State Senator Ron Stollings, (D) Boone County.

Medical Experts today say this bill will help train educators across the state to recognize ACEs — or adverse childhood experiences — which can be caused by multiple stress events.

“A behavioral outbursts or an inability to learn may be related back to the trauma they are having at home. maybe they don’t have food at home, maybe they have a parent that is using substance use disorder, maybe they lost a parent if they are in foster care these are all different traumas or adverse childhood experiences that we need to recognize so we can ensure children are getting the support they need to grow learn and be their full potential, ” says Dr. Lisa Costello with the West Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

West Virginia children rank well above the national average in almost every category of adverse childhood experiences. Many of which are brought on by the state’s opioid crisis and could potentially enter these kids into the cycle of substance abuse.

“We could be further the promulgating the problem of substance use disorder by individuals who are exposed to it and had other adverse childhood experiences they may be more likely to then suffer themselves from substance abuse disorder,” adds Costello.

This bill is working to get all West Virginia schools on the same page, but some schools already have their own “trauma-informed” programs.

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