Safeguarding Children and Young People Training
Griffin Care Limited: Safeguarding Children and Young People Training
Delegates attending Griffin Care’s Child Protection/Safeguarding Children training often express concern about the impact of neglect and abuse on a child’s growth and development, and for good reason. A growing body of evidence indicates maltreatment can alter brain functioning and consequently affect mental, emotional, and behavioural development (often called socio-emotional development). You and the families you work with can benefit from knowledge of children’s developmental stages and the signs and symptoms of developmental delays. Griffin Care is dedicated to Safeguarding Children from significant harm and as such will be posting a series of articles related to child protection which will support practitioners in doing the worthwhile job of protecting children and young people.
Research indicates that newborns’ brains have developed enough to interact with the world around them, even in the earliest days of life. They can recognize their mother’s voice and smell, and they have some capacity to self-regulate and self-soothe. As amazing as these early abilities are, the majority of brain development occurs during the child’s early months and years, and higher functions continue to develop throughout adolescence into early adulthood. The brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family, and the community, and the quality of those experiences affects whether the child will develop a strong or weak foundation for all future learning, behaviour, and health.
A traumatic experience such as abuse or neglect can profoundly impact a child’s brain development. Trauma may occur when a child feels intensely threatened by an event in which he or she is involved or witnesses (e.g. domestic abuse). A child may experience a single traumatic event or chronic trauma (occurring repeatedly over time). Other types of traumatic events include witnessing community violence; surviving a serious illness or grieving the death of a loved one. A growing body of evidence documents that brain functioning is affected when a child experiences trauma and that cognitive, physical, emotional, social, health, and developmental problems can result.
Research overwhelmingly points to the benefits of supporting children and families at an early age to prevent maltreatment and its negative effects on brain development before they occur.
The second post in the series looking at trauma and brain development will feature the identification of developmental delay and risk factors. For further information please visit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/braindevtrauma.cfm For further information on Child Protection/Safeguarding Children training please visit www.griffincare.co.uk