July 26, 2019- Washington, D.C. – Today, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) introduced the Trauma-Informed Schools Act of 2019, legislation that will define “trauma-informed practices” for the first time ever in federal education law. This bill would also align key federal funding sources to invest in teacher professional development, after school programs, and charter schools, with a goal of providing educators the training and resources they need to utilize trauma-informed care.  

“More than two-thirds of children report at least one traumatic event by age 16, and children who experience these events are often subject to harsh, punitive discipline in schools,” said Congresswoman Clark. “The Trauma-Informed Schools Act will encourage positive, restorative interventions that will give every student a fair shot at success, regardless of the adversity they may have faced.”

“Trauma experienced during youth has a significant impact on the learning ability and social development of students,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Limited resource availability to facilitate trauma-informed care harms vulnerable children at a critical period in their lives. I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation to place children who have been through immense pain on a successful trajectory.”  

“Providing a greater availability of training and resources to assist our teachers and principals is critical to understanding the impact of traumatic experiences on students’ ability to learn in the classroom,” said Congressman Quigley. “I am proud to support legislation to give every student the opportunity to succeed, regardless of the traumatic events they may have experienced in their lives.”

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the earliest years of a child’s life affect their ability to learn, form healthy relationships, regulate their emotions, and achieve success for the rest of their lives. Whether due to abuse, neglect, toxic stress, or other forms of adversity, trauma can have a tremendous impact on emotional development, physical and mental health, and educational outcome. Educators deserve professional training and resources that can better support the work they do every day.”

The Trauma-Informed Schools Act formally defines “trauma-informed practices” in the federal education code and ensures that states and school districts can assist educators in accessing professional development opportunities to optimize their support of children suffering from adverse childhood experiences. 

The legislation is endorsed by Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, America Forward, American Counseling Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Occupational Therapy Association, American School Counselor Association, America's Promise Alliance, AppleTree Learning Institute, Bard Early Colleges, Blue Star Families, Campaign for Youth Justice, Citizen Schools, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), College Possible, Committee for Children, Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, Education Development Center, Educators for Excellence, Eye to Eye, Futures Without Violence, Girls Inc, GreenLight Fund, Human Rights for Kids, Institute for Child Success, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), National Crittenton, National Education Association, National Juvenile Justice Network, National Network for Youth, National Organization for Women, Opportunity Network, PACER, PAVE DC, Root Cause, School Social Work Association of America, Schoolhouse Connection, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness, TASH, Third Sector Capital Partners, Turnaround for Children, Wyman Center, Youth Advocate Programs, and YouthBuild USA.