Douglass Community Services to get grief training

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:27 AM CST
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - Those with Douglass Community Services say they’ll soon have more resources to help local kids who are suffering from grief.

Officials at the Douglass Head Start Program said they are one of only four programs in the state to be chosen to get this grant which trains staff to identify signs of grief and help kids work through it.

Led by an expert from the University of Missouri, Head Start Director Faith Carr said they will also have access to resources like books.

Carr said it’s important because it’s something they are already dealing with.

“We recently had a child actually pass away in one of our centers and we still have the sibling in in our center and we still need to help children cope with that,” she said. “We’ve had children over the years, their parents have passed away, obviously when someone else passes away, grandparents sometimes pass away.”

She said a wide variety of events can trigger grief in kids like the death of a pet, a family member leaving or even hunger.

Those who work with kids said this is a great opportunity.

Center Manager Lisa Thomas said their staff has gone through trauma training to help them identify and support children. She said the upcoming training and resources will allow their staff to focus more on dealing with grief itself, and recognizing the signs, which can vary from child to child.

“For one child it could be example they withdraw and so a child that might be normally interacting with their peers on a regular basis could just suddenly just sit off to the side and not participate,” Thomas said.

It can also take the form of regressing their behavior, such as sucking their thumb or wanting to be held more, or even forgetting their potty training. She said children can also act out or exhibit abnormal behaviors that differ from what they usually do. She said it’s important to address and work through quickly as it can interfere with a child’s learning.

Carr said their Head Start Staff, Douglass Community Services Staff, and their childcare partners will all be participating in the training on March 6.

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