Monday, January 30, 2023

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Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.

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Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Rural KY Schools Tackle Childhood Trauma

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Monday, November 28, 2022   

Russell County teachers, staff, counselors, and bus drivers have received intensive training on the effects of childhood trauma on kids' mental and physical health since 2019.

Today, elementary school suspensions have decreased by 50%, and more kids report feeling safe, cared for, and feel they "belong" at school.

Amalia Mendoza, senior policy and advocacy officer at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which provided grant funding for the Bounce Rural Adverse Childhood Experiences Project, said rural communities face different challenges in reducing behavioral issues stemming from adverse childhood experiences.

"We're talking about toxic stress, we're not talking about just any adversity," Mendoza pointed out. "There's really that kind of stress that is ongoing, and that can produce changes even in the brain and in the immune system."

According to the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, nearly 40% of kids in the U.S. have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience, such as neglect or abuse, living with someone with a drug, alcohol or serious mental-health problem, the death of a parent, or exposure to violence or discrimination in the home or community.

Tracy Aaron, director of health education for the Lake Cumberland District Health Department, explained adverse childhood experiences have been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and mental-health problems; all conditions prevalent in the region and across Kentucky.

"In the Lake Cumberland district, if you look at the data that backs up ACEs," Aaron observed, "we have a very high rate of poverty, we have teen pregnancy. Substance use is an issue."

Michael Ford, superintendent of Russell County Schools, said schools cannot fix family problems, but they can work to remove barriers affecting academic performance and provide spaces where students see de-escalation, self-care and effective problem-solving techniques, and healthy relationships.

"We want our kids to be resilient, right?" Ford stated. "Number one, we want to prevent anything that we can help prevent. Kids, regardless, are going to have ACEs, but ACEs do not have to hold them back."

Ford added successful strategies in the district include parent and grandparent training on how to build kids' resilience, increasing support for school counselors, and changing discipline policies.

Disclosure: The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues, and Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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