Foundations to Flourish
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Foundations to Flourish
Providing Therapeutic Transitions to Schools for Children
who have Experienced Trauma
Presenters:Angela KretzProgram Co-ordinator Act for Kids Wooloowin
Marina Ringma-McLarenEarly Intervention TeacherAct for Kids Wooloowin
Reviewing the Problem - Child Abuse & Neglect
Who are Act for Kids & what do they do?
Theories underpinning practice
What is Trauma?
Early Education Program Key Focus Areas
Transitioning from EEP to Prep
Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse and neglect is one of Australias
biggest and most misunderstood social
problems. Despite being under-reported,
Australian authorities confirmed 40,844
children were abused or neglected between
Harm is defined in legislation as detrimental
effect of a significant nature on the childs
physical, psychological or emotional
Child abuse is typically categorised as
Physical, Emotional, Sexual, and Neglect.
Abuse is usually a pattern of behaviour; rarely
the result of a single incident
The effects of child abuse and neglect can be
significant and lead to lifelong problems.
Impact brain development
Hippocampus memory function
Pre-frontal Cortex learning
Corpus Callosum LB/RB connection
Impact physical development
Overall growth - malnutrition
Impairment of fine/gross motor skills
Impact social/emotional development
Inability to form attachments
In the long term it can lead to drug and alcohol
abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and
maintaining healthy relationships,
unemployment and all sorts of social
The outcomes for children if someone takes
action to protect them can be overwhelmingly
With early and appropriate support, children and
young people can overcome their experiences.
Its also true that with the right kind of support
parents can often change their behaviour,
routines and environment to provide a safe and
caring home for their children.
How big is the problem?
In 2013-2014 there were 304,094 notifications of suspected abuse or neglect
reported to Australian protection authorities; one child every two minutes
In 2013-14, 40,844 Australian kids suffered abuse and neglect*. Thats one
child every 13 minutes suffering abuse or neglect.
94% of abused kids are harmed by someone they know and should be able to
83% of the kids we see are harmed by a natural parent
Over half of the parents we engage with report they too were abused as
Child abuse costs the Australian economy at least $10.7 billion*
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child protection Australia 2013-14. Child welfare series no. 61. Cat. No.
CWS 52. Canberra: AIHW. http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=601299550762
About Act for KidsAct for Kids is an Australian not-for-profit charity providing free professional therapy and family support
services to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.
Established as the Abused Child Trust in 1988, we have been helping Australian families keep their children
safe for more than 27 years. During that time we have grown from one part-time therapist to a team of over
300 providing services state-wide and interstate.
In 2008, at the ripe old age of 20, we changed our name to Act for Kids to better reflect our broader range of
services, and to share a positive call to action across communities.
To prevent and treat child abuse and
All kids have a safe and happy childhood, free from abuse and
We are a professional, ethical team who is caring, courageous and collaborative.
Act for Kids Services
utilising a variety of
team & stakeholder
Connects families to
for children & families
provided within the
Program is a
Owners and Act for
Kids, and aims to
keep kids in their
Act for Kids Services Cont.
program - grade 1
ACT For Kids - WooloowinAct for Kids Wooloowin
ACT for Kids Objectives
To work with children and young people (0-17) who have experienced trauma as a consequence of abuse and/or neglect.
To engage with their families and/or carers around family functioning, communication, parenting, and the impact of abuse and trauma on child well-being and safety.
To provide holistic integrated interventions that utilizes assessments and therapy to achieve identified goals and outcomes for families, their children and young people.
To work with children and their relevant stakeholders to improve their social, emotional and educational development.
To enhance community education, assessments and interventions through training and workshops
Attachment Theory: helps us to understand human
relationship development from pre-birth onwards
throughout the life span.
Trauma Theory: helps us understand the neurobiological
and psychological impact of abuse and neglect on the
Developmental Theory: helps us understand typical
development and development under adversity
Theories Underpinning Practice
Our earliest experiences are physical/sensory in
Infants are wired to engage in social relationships
Infants cries and behaviours are designed to engage
the attention, care and concern of those close around them.
Attachment relationship is something that children and
caregivers create together in an ongoing reciprocal way.
The quality of the attachment between an infant & parent
is strongly associated with the infants language development.
There is no such thing as a baby,
there is a baby AND someone (Donald Winnicott)
Trauma is any event that overwhelms the
infant or childs capacity to cope.
What is Trauma?
Complex trauma however:
involves multiple incidents over a period of time
is grounded in relational connections which
involve isolation, shame and disconnection
impacts on the persons sense of self in relation to
impacts upon the childs development
Children are more vulnerable
to trauma than adults because
they have had limited
experiences of facing and
overcoming challenges in
Their bodies and minds are still developing.
Trauma occurs when an event is so frightening it
causes a prolonged alarm reaction, where the body
is primed and pumped with chemicals and
enzymes such as adrenaline and does not calm
down for a long time. In any person, this creates an
altered neurological state.
Children exposed to significant threat will reset their
baseline state of arousal, such that even at baseline
when no external threats or demands are present they
will be in a physiological state of persisting alarm.
Hyperarousal (Sympathetic nervous system)
(separation anxiety, hyper-vigilent, low thresholds, emotional meltdowns)
Window of Tolerance
Just Right Zone
We can think and feel at the same time
(Flat affect, shut down, passive aggressive, appears sluggish)
The brain is at its most plastic in early
In childhood, there is the greatest
vulnerability to harm but also the
greatest potential for healing.
Early Education Program Kindy The teacher & teacher aide are funded by Education Queensland
2 groups Kindy 2-3 years of age; Pre-Prep 4-5 years of age
Focus is on developing social/emotional skills & school readiness
Multidisciplinary approach utilised within the EEP environment
Education & Prevention
Act for Kids
Early Education Program
Working in Partnership
Early Education Program Who can attend?
Open case with Child
Engaged with the Intensive
Prior history of
abuse, neglect and /or trauma
At high risk due to
developmental, social and emotional
Currently in foster
placement or being
Need support to att