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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Addressing Trauma in Young Children in Immigrant and Refugee Families through Early Childhood Programs

Posted by migrationpolicy on April 3rd, 2019

Many young children of immigrants and refugees are affected by trauma, whether directly or through their parents or other family members. Early childhood programs have the potential to play an important role in identifying and addressing infant and early childhood mental-health challenges for immigrant families that may result from exposure to trauma and other stressors. However, their capacity to take a trauma-informed approach in their services and provide appropriate support and referrals—especially with regard to immigrant, refugee, and other culturally and linguistically diverse families—is limited.

During this webinar, speakers discuss the intersection of trauma and early childhood development, exploring how migration-related trauma and stressors can influence the wellbeing of young children of immigrants. Researchers, Maki Park and Caitlin Katsiaficas, from MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy provide an overview of a MPI policy brief that seeks to raise awareness of this issue and points to key opportunities for states to support, through early childhood and other programs, the healthy socioemotional development of young children of immigrants and refugees who have experienced trauma. Jessica Dym Bartlett, Co-Director of Early Childhood Research at Child Trends, discussed efforts to integrate trauma-informed approaches into early childhood systems, with a focus on opportunities to expand access and quality of these services specifically for immigrant and refugee families with young children. Aimee Hilado, Wellness Program Senior Manager at RefugeeOne, the largest refugee resettlement agency in Illinois, discusses how home visiting services can effectively address trauma and mental health through a two-generation approach.

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