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Trauma-Informed Care Necessary for Refugees

March 28, 2022

In this blog, Susan Hibbard executive director of BUILD, addresses the war in Ukraine and its impact on children and their families.

As recent news stories and photos attest, the lives of Ukrainian children and families are being upended. As many take refuge in makeshift shelters and others flee their country, some on foot, three million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have already been displaced – uprooted from all that was familiar to them, witnesses of violence, if not victims of it themselves.

We know from the research on childhood trauma that the youngest Ukrainians are experiencing a level of suffering and trauma so extreme that it may lead to changes in their long-term response to stress and vulnerability to psychiatric disorders later in life. The effects of this degree of trauma are so far-reaching that BUILD devoted a webinar series on the need for trauma-informed services for children and families who are forced to leave their country due to abysmal, often dangerous conditions.

In addition to eliciting our compassion for Ukrainian children and their families, the war is reminding us of the importance of mitigating the effects of trauma on the young children of immigrants and refugees in the US. For early care and education programs and services to be as successful as possible at addressing mental health challenges faced by children and their families, their capacity to serve the children of refugees and other immigrants must be strengthened.

We hope you will join us in an upcoming webinar series on refugee and other immigrant trauma, with presentations by the Migration Policy Institute, Civitas Strategies, and others. A date has not been chosen yet, so please stay in touch for further information.

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