Michigan Launches Website, Releases RFP about Trauma and Toxic Stress on Children

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today announced the recent launch of a new website designed to provide information about the effects of trauma and toxic stress on young children. The website aims to reach early childhood providers, parents, caregivers and communities to improve outcomes for Michigan’s vulnerable youth populations.

Toxic stress refers to one or more experiences that threaten the safety and security of individuals. Examples include family or community violence, financial insecurity or living with a family member who is mentally ill. A growing body of research shows that trauma and toxic stress that happen to young children changes their brains and that caregiver responses are critical in helping children adapt and thrive after exposure to these types of stressors.

The site, developed with these goals in mind, describes trauma and toxic stress, its affects in young children, and provides two types of learning– online self-learning units and a presentation that include information about early brain development, and ways to prevent and reduce the impact of trauma and toxic stress.

In addition to the launch of the website, the MDCH has a Request for Proposal (RFP) open through the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems to solicit applications for projects that will plan and organize system-building strategy for addressing trauma and toxic stress. Applications for these projects are due by December 22, and questions should be directed to Mary Mueller at muellerm1@michigan.gov.

The website was developed as part of the Great Start Trauma Informed System initiative, a funded activity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Administration. The purpose of the program is to integrate trauma informed practices into Michigan’s Comprehensive Early Childhood System, commonly known as Great Start, which is comprised of programs supported by the MDCH, and Michigan Departments of Education and Human Services, as well as the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.

The Great Start Trauma Informed System’s goals are to address trauma and toxic stress by:

  • Promoting education regarding trauma and toxic stress
  • Preventing or reducing negative outcomes by expanding screening for trauma and toxic stress
  • Identifying and coordinating trauma informed services for families and children

For more information about trauma and toxic stress and resources in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/traumatoxicstress or contact the Great Start Trauma Informed System coordinator at (517) 373-4190.