Alannah & Madeline Foundation Launches Trauma-Informed Practice Guide
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Alannah & Madeline Foundation Launches Trauma-Informed Practice Guide

by Freya Lucas

October 23, 2023
Alannah & Madeline Foundation Trauma-Informed Practice Guide

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, in collaboration with Monash University’s Health and Social Care Unit (HSCU), has announced the launch of the Trauma-Informed Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Organisations (TIO Practice Guide).


To ensure its effectiveness, the TIO Practice Guide was rigorously tested through a Community of Practice involving 17 educators from five early childhood education and care (ECEC) organisations across Victoria. Feedback from participants outlined the Guide’s usefulness, with a significant proportion of those who tested the resource indicating positive changes resulting from its implementation.


Developed with the support of Gowrie Victoria and funded by the Bowden Marstan Foundation and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, the resource will guide early childhood organisations to integrate trauma-informed approaches into their operations.


Trauma during childhood can have profound and lasting effects on the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. High-quality early years education plays a crucial role in identifying issues early and ensuring appropriate assessment and support for affected children and families.


However, educators can face challenges, including limited training in understanding and responding to trauma and vicarious trauma due to exposure to children’s traumatic experiences. With workforce shortages and high turnover, organisations struggle to recruit and retain educators in the early years, and when they move on from positions, the knowledge of how to work with children who have experienced trauma is lost. 


“Through our work directly supporting front line ECEC professionals, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s Trauma Consultancy (TraCS) team recognised the need for trauma informed approaches to be embedded within organisations,” Lee Cameron, Director of Trauma Informed Programs at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation shared.


“There is a clear need for a holistic approach. We cannot rely on soley adopting an individual, child-orientated practice. For ECEC professionals to be able to effectively practise in a trauma informed way, simultaneous organisational-level action and support is required.”


The TIO Practice Guide, which was officially launched at Gowrie Victoria by The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP, Minister for Early Childhood Education & Minister for Youth earlier this month offers a comprehensive solution by addressing both individual educator training and structural/organisational issues. 


By promoting trauma-informed practices within early childhood education services, this guide provides a pathway to better outcomes for children, families, and the workforce.


Benefits of implementing trauma-informed practice in early childhood education include:  

  • understanding and interpreting challenging behaviours, 
  • creating safe environments, 
  • building trusting relationships, 
  • promoting emotional regulation, 
  • fostering resilience, and 
  • empowering children. 


Trauma-informed practices also minimise the risk of re-traumatisation and encourage parent and community engagement, leading to positive long-term outcomes.


The TIO Practice Guide’s impact is far-reaching, aiming to:


  • Increase understanding of trauma and its impact on staff, children, and families in early education and care settings.
  • Ensure well-supported staff delivering education and care programs.
  • Foster supportive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) environments for staff as well as children and families.
  • Acknowledge and respond to vicarious trauma experienced by educators and staff.


The development of the TIO Practice Guide involved collaboration with key stakeholders, including the Alannah & Madeline Foundation Trauma Consultancy Service, Monash University’s Health and Social Care Unit, and a diverse group of professionals from the early childhood education, community services, and child, youth and family sectors.


Trauma-Informed Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Organisations is available and free to download here.


Learn more about the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s, Trauma Consultancy Service (TraCS), an Early Years program that supports educators working with children affected by trauma here

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