Homelessness and trauma are inextricably connected. Homelessness is a result of traumatic events, including domestic violence, eviction, natural disasters, abuse, neglect, and parental mental health problems and addiction. Becoming homeless is itself an additional traumatic event, and the experience of being homeless brings yet more traumas: multiple moves, loss of family and belongings, frequent illness, lack of basic needs such as food and clothing, and often exposure to violence or threats of violence.
These multiple and repeated traumas threaten children’s futures. A large and growing body of research on Adverse Childhood Experiences makes clear that traumatic experiences in childhood can cause lasting harm to health and well-being – including increased risk of homelessness as adults. In fact, studies have shown that the relationship between adult homelessness and adverse childhood experiences is directly proportional.
The Sesame trauma initiative features new, bilingual content that presents coping strategies to help children feel safe and become more resilient in a range of situations, and gives adults the tools they need to foster nurturing connections. The initiative also includes professional development resources and simple strategies for parents and community providers.
SchoolHouse Connection is excited to collaborate with Sesame Workshop on this initiative and urges all professionals who work with children and families experiencing homelessness – school district liaisons, state coordinators, family and youth service providers, early care and education programs, institutions of higher education – to explore and share the Sesame trauma resources.