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Because traumatic events are prevalent, cause profound suffering, and may lead to life altering responses, it is imperative that caregivers have the knowledge and understanding to respond skillfully and compassionately to children who have been exposed to traumatic stress.

The National Center on Family Homelessness has compiled this booklet as a resource for caregivers working with children who have experienced traumatic stress. The booklet opens by defining trauma, then looks more closely at acute traumatic stress and complex trauma. For each aspect of trauma, we describe the most common developmental effects on children and ways for caregivers to respond to help children heal. To support caregivers, we highlight the importance of self-care and provide a list of resources.