Child Mental Health
Early experiences matter, they mold and shape the developing brain and lay the foundation for a child’s sound mental health. One Place provides early education programs that support children’s healthy development during the first 2,000 days of life when critical brain development occurs – but that isn’t always enough. Children hurt by abuse or through other adverse childhood experiences may need professional help to cope with their trauma, even when they are supported by caring parents and adults.
Social and Emotional Development
Ensuring a child’s environment includes positive relationships and nurturing experiences early in life can have community-wide benefits for the future to include reduction in child abuse, lowered rates of incarceration, decreased homelessness, and increased high school graduation rates. At One Place our programs for young children aim to support social and emotional development and positively impact their mental health.
- Work to ensure social emotional competence in children by assisting them in developing the capacity to experience and regulate emotion, form secure relationships, and explore and learn – all in the context of the child’s family, community and culture.
- Educate parents and caregivers about the importance of social and emotional development and how to support it through loving, responsive, positive interactions.
- Prepare early educators to promote and support healthy social and emotional development through coaching, training, and inclusion services.
- Integrate strategies to support social and emotional development into all programs that serve young children and their families to include Early Head Start, Three School, and NC Pre-K.
Five Protective Factors
The Strengthening Families framework is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. All families experience challenges. The stronger a family’s knowledge and understanding of the five protective factors, the more likely they are able to face adversity in a healthy way. We train staff on the framework and work to engage families, programs, and community partners in building the five protective factors to create a more resilient community.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can impact future instances of child abuse and neglect, and lifelong health and opportunity. Together we can create a community where every child can thrive with safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.
ACEs prevention at One Place:
- Access to quality care and education early in life through family engagement and our preschool and Early Head Start programs, and coaching and support of early educators.
- Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development through our Early Head Start programs, Triple P online partnership, and referrals to parent education resources in the community.
- Services in our Child Advocacy Center reduce the trauma of abuse and neglect exposure.
We have a bold vision to increase the community’s capacity for mental health services for children and adults. The emotional well-being of children is directly impacted by the functioning of their caregivers and families, and children healing from trauma and other adverse childhood experiences often need additional support and help from mental health professionals. A healthy family supports a healthy child.
Our Child Advocacy Center currently provides resources and referrals to families seen in the CAC for mental health support and services. Our hope is to employ trauma-informed mental health professionals on-site to offer wrap-around services for victims of child abuse and their families to include collaboration with victim advocates and the victim’s health care provider for a more holistic approach to healing. Creation of support groups and parenting support opportunities for non-offending parents and caregivers will also allow opportunity for the entire family to heal.
One Place plans to provide training, support, and information around prevention programs, such as the Connections Matter framework, to staff to further build a trauma-informed agency. We want to provide training and information on this model as well as the Strengthening Families Five Protective Factors Framework to the early childhood community, families, and community partners, to work toward building a more resilient, trauma-informed Onslow County because children are no small matter.