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It’s important to know the facts about how trauma can affect children and what signs parents can look for to identify if a child is suffering from child traumatic stress. Please click on the links below for more information on child traumatic stress, programs and services offered through the Delaware Children’s Department and additional contact information for support and services available in Delaware.

24-hour Behavioral Health Crisis Services


Call for emergency help with a child’s emotional problem

It is common for children to experience chronic stress or trauma. The term adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, describes these events. These experiences are hard to manage without help from adults and can lead to learning, behavior, and health problems. Recognizing ACEs can help children and families build the tools for success and healthy, positive experiences.

Follow the campaign Number Story – Learn about adverse childhood experiences

ACEs can happen in a child’s home and community, including:

  • Separation from a caregiver (death, incarceration, foster care placement)
  • Experiencing abuse or neglect
  • Experiencing or witnessing violence
  • Not having enough food or a safe place to live
  • Living with an adult who has a hard time managing mental health or substance use issues

To help children bounce back you can:

  • Listen and show interest
  • Help them express hard emotions like anger, sadness, and grief
  • Look for the good and show appreciation
  • Help build their social connection and support system
  • Learn more about ACEs and how to keep children safe.

The City of Wilmington’s Youth Response Unit (YRU) is a collaboration with the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. The unit is comprised of specially trained, qualified therapists working in partnership with the Wilmington Police Department’s (WPD) officers and Victims Services Unit. The purpose of this unit is to identify children who have been impacted by violence and trauma and intervene as quickly as possible to promote resiliency and healing. In addition to individualized trauma response and treatment, YRU offers education, support and resources to children, families and the community as they cope with varying forms of trauma.

Take Care Delaware is an innovative trauma-informed program that promotes school and community partnerships, such as law enforcement, to help children exposed to trauma receive support so they can succeed in school. This initiative works really simply – law enforcement provides the school with a “heads up” when a child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic event. The school then knows to take extra care with that child, and employ trauma-informed approaches to help them cope and work through any behavior challenges. The program is currently piloted in the Smyrna School District.