Early Experiences Matter

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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.


Although we like to think of the early years as filled with joy, excitement, learning and growth. For most babies, this is the case. It is also true that rates of child maltreatment are highest for the youngest children, with children most at risk in the earliest weeks and months of life. 1

Along with their older family members, very young children can be subject to trauma. Trauma can be defined as experiencing or witnessing an event that causes or threatens injury or death. Child maltreatment and other interpersonal violence 2 can be a source of trauma, as the sudden or violent loss of a loved one, and natural and human-caused disasters.

This section includes resources on responding to the needs of the youngest children and their families when they have been impacted by maltreatment, violence, loss, or disaster.


1 Child Maltreatment, 2007. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/chapter3.htm#sex


2Defining Trauma and Child Traumatic Stress http://www.nctsnet.org/nccts/nav.do?pid=faq_def

In This Section

Child Abuse and Neglect - Infants and toddlers are disproportionately at risk for maltreatment. They account for over three-quarters of child maltreatment fatalities. Because these early years set the stage for all that follows, they hold the greatest danger for long-term damage and the greatest potential for successful intervention.

The Impact of Trauma - Explores how trauma affects young children differently based on the traumatic experiences and the presence of risk and protective factors in the child, family and community.

Safe Babies Court Teams: Building Strong Families and Healthy Communities - The project’s goal is to reduce the recurrence of abuse and neglect and to improve outcomes for vulnerable infants and toddlers in Court Teams communities.



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