An $80,000 grant from CareOregon will launch a groundbreaking effort in the Gladstone School District, supporting elementary students who suffered traumatic events in early childhood. The goal is improving children’s long-term health and academic success.

A Kaiser Permanente study in 1995-97 revealed that individuals who faced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as abuse, domestic violence, loss of a parent, or living with a substance abuser have dramatically increased lifelong risks from health issues, addiction and depression.

“The evidence is overwhelming regarding the impact of trauma. By addressing this issue through Trauma Informed Practice, we look forward to further enhancing the well-being of Gladstone children,” said Superintendent Bob Stewart. “CareOregon has been a wonderful partner with the Gladstone community. We have benefited from their knowledge, expertise and resources. This next step in our journey together is truly


Wendy Wilson, principal of John Wetten Elementary, understands that students who have had highly stressful experiences in their lives also may have difficulty succeeding academically. Research has shown that constant stress impacts brain development in young children.

“Children are impacted by toxic stress in different ways. Some have difficulty regulating emotions, while others show lack of attention, impulsivity or extreme passivity,” Wilson said. “For these children to develop in healthy ways, they need connections with caring mentors and strategies to self-regulate their emotions, behaviors and attention.”

Staff training is an essential component of the program, as the school works to build teacher awareness of the reasons behind children’s behavior and to learn trauma-sensitive, strengths-based approaches and routines to help children cope. Wilson added that providing kids with predictable routines and attachments to positive adults will benefit her entire student body.

“We are pleased to support the efforts of Gladstone Schools to address early childhood trauma,” said Patrick Curran, CareOregon’s chief executive officer. “It is a great example of what we are trying to accomplish through Coordinated Care Organizations: addressing the important determinants of health early and comprehensively. We believe this initiative will have a lifelong impact on these children.”

“We all know a few amazing adults who had the worst childhoods imaginable, but managed to find success despite the odds,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to make that possible for every student who experienced childhood trauma.”

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