Schools can help students reach their full potential by taking an active role as a network of care partner. This includes promoting social emotional development, early detection and screening for behavioral health concerns and trauma, and connecting children to supports and treatment services.

Trauma-Informed School Mental Health Task Force

The Trauma-Informed School Mental Health Task Force functions as the workgroup for this area. The vision of the workgroup is to ensure that every student achieves equitable academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and physical well-being. To achieve this vision, the goal of the Trauma-Informed School Mental Health workgroup is to promote equitable access and outcomes for students and families within a statewide trauma-informed infrastructure that integrates behavioral health services, schools, pediatric primary care, and community supports.

The Trauma-Informed School Mental Health Task Force works to convene across school and community initiatives including:

Workgroup chairs: Jeana Bracey, PhD, Child Health and Development Institute and Sandra M. Chafouleas, PhD, UConn Collaboratory for School Child Health

Designated meeting time: fourth Tuesday of every other month | 9:00 – 10:00 am via Zoom*

The next two meetings are:

  • Tuesday, March 26, 2024
  • Tuesday, May 28, 2024

*Note: Dates and times are subject to change. Contact workgroup chairs for Zoom link.

Current Areas of Focus and Resources

Developing a Common Language in Connecticut: A Dictionary of Terms Related to Trauma-Informed Schools (2019): The structure of this document is adapted from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)’s Glossary of Terms Related to Trauma-Informed, Integrated Healthcare, which groups terms by theme such as “terms to describe the event” and “terms to describe reaction/response.” As the landscape of trauma-informed schools and terminology is rapidly developing and expanding, this document is intended to be the first version of a living document. As such, it is expected that this reference will be periodically updated as terminology and available.

Recommendations from the 2019 Symposium on Trauma-Informed School Mental Heath 2.0 (2019): On October 23, 2019, the University of Connecticut Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) co-sponsored and hosted the “Symposium on Trauma-Informed School Mental Health 2.0.” School, behavioral health, community, and research leaders from across the state gathered at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs to discuss school and community responses to childhood trauma and how to align work around trauma-informed schools in Connecticut. Facilitated discussions focused on prevention through screening/early identification; enhancing services to meet intensive needs; aligning policies and practices to facilitate sustainability; and building collaborations across public-private partnerships. The event resulted in a summary of ideas and further recommendations for action.

Healthy Students and Thriving Schools: A Comprehensive Approach for Addressing Students’ Trauma and Mental Health Needs (2018): This IMPACT report from the Child Health and Development Institute provides a comprehensive framework for states and school districts to address the mental health and trauma needs of students. Developed in in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland, it includes an overview of core components of a comprehensive school mental health framework, including its benefits to schools and students; examples of national best practices and consideration of relevant challenges; a model for a trauma-informed multi-tiered system of supports for school mental health; and recommendations for state-level policymakers, districts, and schools to advance a comprehensive statewide system of school mental health to improve outcomes for all students.

Implementing a Statewide Framework for Trauma-Informed School Mental Health in Connecticut (2017): On May 24, 2017, CSCH co-sponsored and hosted the first “Symposium on Trauma-Informed School Mental Health,” for school, mental health, and community leaders from across the state.  Attendees discussed childhood trauma and the impact it can have on a child’s education, as well as possible strategies for responding to children who have experienced trauma or have behavioral health issues. The symposium helped create of a common framework for addressing trauma, violence and mental health needs among children, and stimulate the development of a trauma-informed school mental health plan.