The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) would like to continue to build their capacity to provide educators with tools, resources, and training needed to understand trauma and support students with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that these educators work with in their schools and classrooms. WVDE requested the Region 5 Comprehensive Center (R5CC) team's support in helping the state achieve this goal.
Research has shown the extensive impact that childhood trauma has on individuals throughout their lifespan. Oral et al. (2016) defines trauma as negatively perceived situations that are outside of one's control, which impact both physical and psychological aspects of the body and which can lead to an array of negative outcomes, including alcoholism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, smoking, and illicit drug use. The 2016 National Survey of Children's Health found that 52.4 percent of children under age 18 in WV have had at least one ACE, compared to the national average of 46.3 percent. This initiative aligns with West Virginia's American Rescue Plan (ARP) goal of Supporting Students and Educators Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs.
Approach to Capacity-Building Services
This initiative builds upon efforts underway in West Virginia to support student well-being by focusing on cross-agency collaboration, as well as broad-based stakeholder partnerships, to deliver high-quality, relevant, and useful resources to LEAs, students, and families. The co-facilitation of a broad-based stakeholder collaborative, working together to develop and disseminate resources to address ACEs will strengthen WVDE's capacity to meet this need of its constituents and address the mental health crisis in WV. Building the capacity of WVDE to support effective utilization of school psychologists in school settings to better meet the mental health needs of students with ACES will be a new priority for WVDE in year 4.