Trauma-Responsive Care Training for Trainers Opportunity

Download the article, Trauma-Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers in Child Care: A Training for Trainers Overview to learn more about this training series and how to bring this opportunity to your state or territory.

Article – Trauma-Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers in Child Care: A Training for Trainers Overview

This series provides rationale and guidance for implementing trauma-responsive care in child care settings that serve infants, toddlers, and their families. It’s based on the following understanding of trauma:

  • “Childhood trauma occurs when a child experiences an actual or threatened negative event, series of events, or set of circumstances that cause emotional pain and overwhelm the child’s ability to cope” (  Bartlett & Steber, 2019, para. 5).
  • Young children are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of trauma and are at the highest risk for exposure to trauma.
  • Trauma has the potential to negatively affect all areas of an infant or toddler’s growth and development and can have lifelong impacts.

The content of this series focuses on how infant/toddler caregivers can support infants, toddlers, and their families who have experienced or who are at risk for experiencing trauma through a trauma-responsive, healing-centered approach.

A trauma-responsive approach recognizes and responds to the impact of traumatic stress on children, families, and caregivers by increasing trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills and incorporating these into program policies and practices. This approach also focuses on collaboration to maximize physical and psychological safety and support the ability of the child and family to thrive.

“Children find healing in the daily acts of love and nurture experienced in ordinary relationships. Because child care providers and teachers often spend more waking hours with a child than any other adult, they are key players in the path to healing” (Sorrels, 2015, p. 9).


Being trauma-responsive means proactively thinking about all aspects of an infant, toddler, and family’s experience in childcare and doing everything possible to

  • prevent incidents that may cause trauma or trigger or retrigger a traumatic response;
  • resist potential re-traumatization for very young children who have experienced trauma;
  • examine the childcare environment, caregiver behaviors, and program practices with “trauma” lenses on and ask questions from a trauma-informed infant and toddler caregiver perspective; and
  • explore all aspects of how we serve infants and toddler.

Being trauma-responsive is thinking about how to create space and provide care for children and families that is welcoming, healing, nurturing, and sensitive and that helps children feel that they belong and are safe. Every aspect of how we interact with infants, toddlers, and families can help create   a sense of safe belonging, a place where they can feel secure and truly thrive.  Trauma-responsive care means moving beyond simply knowing about trauma and its   potential effects. It’s applying that knowledge to our practices to offer the most effective and compassionate care to all children. It also means considering the potential impact of trauma on the adults caring for infants and toddlers.

The sessions are designed to be facilitated by training and technical assistance professionals, including trainers, consultants, specialists, coaches, college faculty, program monitors, and mentors. State and territory leads may also participate in this training, as appropriate. Each session includes a slide deck, resources, learning activities, video links, a detailed facilitator’s guide, and a participant activity packet. Facilitators can tailor the sessions to the needs, interests, and availability of the participants.

Training Sessions 

This Trauma-Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers in Child Care: A Training for Trainers includes six sessions:

  • Session 1. An Overview of Trauma and Trauma-Responsive Care
  • Session 2. Supporting Babies and Toddlers on Their Path to Resilience
  • Session 3. Trauma-Responsive Care Strategies and Practices
  • Session 4. Partnering with Families to Build Their Resilience
  • Session 5. Caring for the Caregiver
  • Session 6. Leading the Way to Trauma-Responsive Care

Training Objectives

  • Define and explore trauma, risk factors, and trauma-responsive care.
  • Discuss the possible effects of trauma on infants and toddlers and explore the concepts of protective factors and resilience.
  • Identify trauma-responsive care strategies and practices.
  • Identify the influence of trauma on families and explore practices that strengthen family resilience.
  • Discuss the importance of caregiver wellness and well-being and explore ways to foster caregiver resilience.
  • Explore how to develop, establish, and sustain trauma-responsive policies and practices in infant and toddler care programs.

Training Format

This training for trainers can be offered in person, as a virtual training, or as a hybrid training―a combination of in-person and distance learning. To request this training series and to discuss how the training format may be individualized to the needs and interests of your state or territory, contact the Child Care State Capacity Building Center’s Infant/Toddler Specialist Network at [email protected].

Recommended Preparation

The series is designed for training and technical assistance professionals who have a background in infant and toddler learning, development, and care. There is a substantial amount of content and guidance in the materials; however, the facilitator should be well versed on the topics in order to respond to questions and concerns not covered in the materials.

Requirements for Participants and Implementation Support

Participants in the training for trainers commit to facilitating the training in their communities within a certain time frame and receiving ongoing implementation support from the Infant/Toddler Specialist Network. The specific time frame is defined by the participants; the Infant/Toddler Specialist;  and the state, territory, or host agency. Most frequently, the time frame is 6 months. Participants have the flexibility to individualize certain aspects of the training to meet the interests and needs of the infant and toddler caregivers they support. Participants will also receive ongoing individualized support from the Infant/Toddler Specialist Network as they move toward broader implementation. Support can be tailored to include the following:

  • Meetings to support implementation
  • Coaching
  • Consultation
  • Office hours with the Infant/Toddler Specialist


Bartlett, J. D., & Steber, K. (2019). How to implement trauma-informed care to build resilience to childhood trauma. Child Trends. -implement-trauma-informed-care-to -build-resilience-to -childhood-trauma#_ftn40

Sorrels, B. (2015). Reaching and teaching children exposed to trauma. Gryphon House.