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Trauma Information

This Trauma Informed guide is a web-linked compilation of resources from a range of Health and Human Service agencies, federal partners, and respected sources outside government. The site will contain both information and resources for human services leaders at the state, tribal, territorial, and local levels on recent advances in our understanding of trauma, toxic stress, and resiliency and specifically what these advances mean for program design and service delivery.
Some general trauma resources in the guide, which are applicable to all human services programs, include:
  • What is Trauma?
  • What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)? How are they different from trauma experienced at other times during the life course?
  • What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
  • How does exposure to trauma affect brain development?
  • What do we mean by trauma-informed services and why is such an approach important?

Trauma: White House Update

Trauma Informed Approaches to Discipline 

On September 19, 2016 a team of twelve stakeholders from the Commonwealth joined fourteen other states in attending a White House summit on Trauma-Informed Approaches in Schools. The group represented schools, state agencies and youth-based organizations that recognize the impact of trauma on our youth. Information regarding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on the brain development of children as well as the impact of those experiences in the school setting was shared by leaders in the field from around the nation. A focus on trauma-informed discipline in the schools with girls of color was emphasized by a panel of young women who had experienced great trauma in their lives and its impact on their ability to function in school. At the conclusion of the summit, the White House released a fact sheet that detailed the summit and provides numerous resources for schools, parents and agencies on the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on children-- especially girls of color and how to build a trauma-informed school. The link to the fact sheet and related resources is listed below:  


Trauma Information - Working with Traumatized Children

Traumatized children are vulnerable. Teachers are the critical link to intervention with sensitivity and awareness. Best practices create an environment where students can learn in a safe and positive environment. Children who experience trauma struggle with interpersonal relationships, face cognitive deficits (including memory and language development), and overreact to everyday stress. In school, because traumatized students view the world as dangerous and misread social cues, minor events may trigger defiant, disruptive, or aggressive behavior. Trauma sensitive practice is a must for every educator's toolkit. The information below contains valuable information that will be helpful to you on a daily basis as you work with students whose learning has been adversely impacted by trauma in their lives.

Traumatic Brain Injury

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is committed to expanding public knowledge regarding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and increasing coordination and integration within existing service delivery systems, thereby enhancing the infrastructure needed to persons with TBI and their Families. To learn more about services available for individuals with brain injury and their families, please contact the toll free Brain Injury Help Line at 1-866-412-4755 and speak with a Brain Injury Specialist. Specialists are available from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

School Re-Entry: BrainSTEPS

Traumatic Brain Injury (PA Department of Health Website)

Sports-Related Concussion and Head Injury Fact Sheet and Acknowledgement Form (Word)

Medical Return to Athletic Participation Form (Word)

Head Trauma

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania recently passed SB 200, the Safety in Youth Sports Act. The Act establishes standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries to student athletes; assigns duties to the Department of Health and the Department of Education; and imposes penalties.

Safety in Youth Sports Act

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Head Injury Program.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

The Department of Health in consultation with the PA School Boards Association, the Department of Education and other key stakeholders is providing information that will serve as the training course for athletic coaches to read and sign in compliance with Act 59.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (Act 59 of 2013)

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website.

A curriculum for grades 4-12 about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and the Chain of Survival.


  • Approximately 1 in 70 high schools will have a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on campus each year, and nearly half of these events will be in students or student-athletes.
  • Sudden cardiac arrest is the #1 cause of death of student athletes. It takes the lives of thousands
    of students every year.
  • Providing CPR and using an AED dramatically increases the chance of survival.

This summer, the world will be reacquainted with Ghostbusters. We will all know who to call when there is a ghost. However, so many of us still don't know who to call or what do to when a fellow student experiences sudden cardiac arrest. Therefore, we're introducing you to our heroes - Heartsavers.

This Ghostbusters-inspired music video educates students about sudden cardiac arrest. The corresponding curriculum provides students and teachers an opportunity to talk about the importance of AED devices and how to respond to cardiac arrest. We hope that you will use this in your classrooms.

Crisis Response Planning

Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities (PDF)

The U.S. Department of Education has developed this guide to give schools, districts, and communities, the critical concepts and components of good crisis planning, stimulate thinking about the crisis preparedness process, and provide examples of promising practices (2003)

Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools

Published by the U.S. Department of Education, offers research-based practices designed to assist school communities identify these warning signs early and develop prevention, intervention and crisis response plans. The guide includes sections on: Characteristics of a School that is Safe and Responsive to All Children; Early Warning Signs; Getting Help for Troubled Children; Developing a Prevention and Response Plan; Responding to Crisis; Resources; and Methodology, Contributors, and Research Support.

PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) is a private nonprofit organization working at the state and national levels to eliminate domestic violence, secure justice for victims, enhance safety for families and communities, and create lasting systems and social change.

PCADV coordinates these efforts with its statewide network of programs, which provides 24-hour emergency hotlines, shelter, counseling, legal advocacy and representation, healthcare-based advocacy, children's programs, transitional housing and many other free and confidential services.

Training Opportunities

To learn more about training opportunities, please contact Tracy Griffith, Training Institute Manager by email at or by phone at 1-800-932-4632 ext. 190.