Superintendent’s Memo #185-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 27, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Building Loving Connections: The Impact of Trauma on Development and Attachment of Children

This memorandum provides information about the impact of trauma on children and families as a result of child abuse and neglect, out of home placement, multiple moves in foster care, and institutionalization. These types of trauma have been shown to have both short-term and long-term consequences on the development of children. Experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. Children who have been traumatized see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When childhood trauma is not resolved, this fundamental sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.

The Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect (GAB) has provided the attached presentation on the impact of trauma on children and families. This presentation was designed to make educators and student service professionals aware of trauma informed practice. Trauma informed practice addresses how trauma may impact the physical, neurological, and emotional development of children and how to respond to these effects.

As a practice and set of interventions, trauma informed care involves professional relationships and interventions that take into account the individual’s trauma history as part of efforts to promote healing and growth. Questions or additional information regarding this presentation  may be directed to Dr. Vivian Stith-Williams, student services specialist, at  or by telephone at (804-225-4543, fax (804-371-8796.



  1. Building Loving Connections Slide Show (PPT) – The Impact of Trauma on Development and Attachment for Children in Placement