What Does It Look Like to Prevent Future Trauma?

Source: All In For Kids team

A four-year-old gets her teeth cleaned in familiar school surroundings—the same place she learned to floss. In the process, her parents also learn about oral health from the dental professional.

After a stressful day, a mom sees her third grader model how to stay out of the “red zone” by practicing a breathing technique he learned at school. 

A teen mom is greeted by her peers. They ask, “What do you need? How can we help?” A few months later, the same teen speaks to her state representative about legislation to reform youth incarceration in California.

All In For Kids knows that what happens today impacts tomorrow. Situations like these, which promote deep yet accessible healing, are powerful forces for preventing trauma in the future. 

New Ways to Look at Prevention

All In For Kids grantee partners are examining the complex links between learning environments, community, and health to foster well-being across generations. Their goal is to develop a shared services model where multiple aspects of a child’s life are focused on preventing trauma.

At The Primary School, educators, medical and dental professionals, parent wellness coaches, and parents work together as a team. In this ecosystem, medical and mental health professionals regularly collaborate with educators and support parents with their needs at home.

Traditional parent-teacher conferences become family-focused, including all aspects of a child and family’s well-being, such as cognitive and analytic learning and social-emotional and physical health. Families co-create goals for both parental and child growth and are then linked to personalized community resources to support them in actualizing these goals. In this innovative model, The Primary School and parents work together to support the whole family’s development and health.  

Changing how basic systems of care operate—like incorporating family dentistry and counseling into supporting family well-being—is essential to stopping future trauma for young children and their families before it happens.

Community, Connection & Advocacy

When we change the conditions that create stress, burden and trauma now, we are also tackling and addressing the future transmission of trauma. Stopping harm when it happens is only part of the solution to prevent future trauma. Young Women’s Freedom Center knows this and goes beyond managing symptoms and redirecting behavior to offering a sense of collective belonging—and collective action.

Through positive mirroring, Young Women’s Freedom Center helps young mothers and trans youth of all genders through difficult decisions and towards problem-solving together. Their programs support a young person’s journey and the community’s well-being by asking deep questions and promoting authentic conversions. Everything they do provides a haven and a safe space for self-discovery and mutual accountability.

By recognizing and valuing young mothers, the Young Women’s Freedom Center instills in them the confidence to forge meaningful relationships and a path toward impactful work. This approach fosters a sense of collective belonging, paving the way for collective action in policy circles not usually meant for young people. It also prepares them for the potential of lifelong civic engagement and advocacy. 

Social Fabric for Future Generations

An integrated and interconnected approach that considers the whole community is part of the fabric of All In For Kids grantee partners.

Our grantee partners understand that true prevention work requires much more than knowledge-building and awareness. It’s about intentionally constructing a social fabric where partners across the whole spectrum of a child’s world—many of whom are working together for the first time—contribute to the potential for a meaningful, healthy and joyful life. 

From policies supporting early childhood development to school-based, family-centered healthcare, these interventions can lessen trauma today and have long-lasting impacts. The comprehensive approaches taken by the Primary School, Young Women’s Freedom Center, and other All In For Kids grantees acknowledge that none of us, especially children, are solitary beings. We are all part of a complex web of emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors that extend beyond ourselves to others and the wider community. 

Prevention is not just a commitment; it’s a promise to tend to all the experiences that create trauma. By addressing these issues, we can alleviate situations that can exacerbate an already challenging situation, instilling confidence that a better future is possible. And, by focusing on these tailored approaches that prioritize the well-being of young children and their families, grantee partners are going a long way to stopping future trauma.