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Crittenton Children’s Center’s Trauma Smart Model


Delivery Approach:
  • Group
  • Dyadic
Delivery Format:
  • In-Person
Provider Requirements:
  • Licensed/Certified Professional Led
Type of Experience Addressed:
  • Domestic Violence
  • Verbal/Emotional Abuse
  • Historical Trauma
  • Mental Health Issues/Concerns
  • Other Types of Experiences Addressed (see Program Details)
Engagement Methods:
  • Talk-Based
  • Play-Based
  • Arts-Based
Level of Intervention:
  • Intervention
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Greater than 12 weeks
  • Day Care
  • Headstart and Early Education Programs
  • School
Program Details:
Type of services provided:

Trauma Smart offers a robust array of organizational support for educational settings, with a particular focus on early learning settings, to build the internal capacity of child serving organizations to best support children impacted by trauma. The model also provides trauma recovery therapy to children in the early childhood settings receiving the organizational support, or works with the organization to build relationships with their local clinicians. The model is largely built on the principles of Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC), and was developed in close consultation and collaboration with the designers of ARC. It supports adults to make needed trauma informed changes in early learning environments, while enhancing universally supportive adult approaches that benefit children impacted my complex trauma and toxic stress. The model includes extensive training, classroom level coaching, consultation, parent engagement classes to teach ARC, and other capacity building approaches.

Program setting:

Trauma Smart is being implemented in a growing number of settings, but is primarily utilized in early childhood learning environments like Head Start, though childcare, and k-6 education implementations are underway.

Please note: Trauma Smart is operated out of Crittenton Children’s Center within Saint Lukes Hospital in Missouri, and is funded through private and public (grant) funds.

Length of program/number of sessions:

The educational/organizational capacity building model requires a minimum two year commitment within the setting. The therapeutic interventions [Attachment, self Regulation and Competency (ARC), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are used with children as needed] vary in length of service, which is determined by the clinician and family.

Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:

Toxic stress, complex trauma, historical trauma. This model is not DV exposure-specific, but uses a more general complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences lens.

Symptoms addressed:

Toxic stress and complex trauma

Education level of providers:

Varies based on role, but all of their staff and trainers are Masters level licensed clinicians

Additional information:


Unique/Innovative Characteristics:

After years of delivering mental health therapy to children in Head Start settings in Missouri, the Crittenton Children’s Center began to recognize that trauma in early childhood settings is pervasive, and necessitates significant culture shift within child serving organizations to best meet the needs of impacted children and their parents. They recognized that universal, environmental supports are needed, and that staff in these settings also need considerable supports to manage and remediate the symptoms of vicarious trauma while learning trauma informed, enhanced practices.

This model is focused on organizational mindset and practice shifts, with supplemental individual trauma interventions for children, making it holistic and unique. They focus on transforming existing science and research related to childhood trauma impact and recovery so that communities, parents, and varying levels of staff can utilize what works while integrating their own cultural values and perspectives.

Date Added/Updated:


Population Served

  • 0-5 (Early Childhood)
  • 6-12 (Childhood)
Population Language:
Ethnic Racial Group:
  • Indigenous People – American Indian/Native American, Alaskan Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White
  • Child
  • Child and Non-abusive Parent/Caregiver
  • Family
  • Survivor parent
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
  • Other Client/audience
Population Adaptations:
Age range of children served:

Infants to 6th grade

Are parent/adult caregiver(s) included in intervention?

Yes – parent learning groups for Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC)

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

The culturally responsive model serves multiple racial and ethnic groups. It should be noted that model was developed in Head Start settings, which serve children living in poverty and high numbers of children of color. Trauma Smart created a native American specific adaptation of their model in close partnership with Menominee Indian School, utilizing the cultural traditions and practices of this specific tribe. Because the model is implemented in close partnership with organizations through tailored consultation and coaching, it lends itself well to culturally relevant adaptations.

Specific cultural adaptations:

Adapted for the Menominee Tribe

Languages that service/resource is available:

English, currently developing materials in Spanish


Goals of the program/services:

Trauma Smart works with adults in early learning and K-6 educational settings to develop trauma informed environments that enhance learning and wellness for children and families impacted by trauma, while also supporting staff and ensuring that children impacted by trauma receive mental health interventions.

Evaluation Studies:
Has there been any evaluation?


Key evaluation results:

In a pretest/posttest evaluation, a group of children receiving Trauma Smart in a Head Start program received intensive trauma-focused intervention which involved 12-24 weekly sessions as well as approximately six hours a month of classroom consultation. Findings included:

• Significant improvements in teacher-reported children’s ability to pay attention
• Significant improvements in teacher-reported children’s externalizing behaviors and oppositional defiance
• Significant improvements in parent-reported children’s externalizing behaviors, internalizing behaviors and attention/hyperactivity

Is there an evaluation currently in progress or planned?

Evaluation is underway within multiple settings

Publications about the program:

Holmes C, Levy M, Smith A, Pinne S & Neese P. A model for creating a supportive trauma-informed culture for children in pre-school settings. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 2015;24(6), 1650-59.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:


Training & Resources

Training Language:
  • English
Training Availability:
  • Yes
Training Details:

None specified

Training manuals/protocols:


Training Contact:

Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner
Crittenton Children’s Center
10918 Elm Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64134

Program Contact

Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner
Crittenton Children’s Center
10918 Elm Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64134