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Delaware gets federal grant to expand school trauma services

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Delaware Public Media
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More First State students affected by trauma could get help through new federal grant funding.

The state has received $7.5 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Trauma Recovery Demonstration Project.

Delaware education officials plan to use the money to expand trauma services for students and their families.

Deborah Stevens runs the Delaware State Education Association’s (DSEA) trauma program. She said the grant will allow DOE to access a broader range of mental health services for students.

“There needs to be a greater mental health level of support available to those youngsters and also an extension to their families as well,” she said.

DSEA has helped the Delaware Department of Education train staff to use trauma-informed practices with students in five Wilmington schools.That work is funded by grant money from the National Education Association.

Stevens said teachers are finding that techniques like having a calm corner, flexible seating or lighting changes can improve students’ learning environment.

“There are fewer disruptive behaviors occurring within their classroom as a result of some of these practices,” she said.

State education officials will use the federal DOE grant to screen a larger student population to identify those affected by trauma, enhance current services and strengthen partnerships with other agencies.

It will also augment educators’ understanding of the signs of trauma and the adoption of trauma-informed practices.

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