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Categories: Early Childhood,

Judge Tepper provides her favorite Early Childhood Courts Resources

Lynn Tepper, Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit, Dade City, Pasco County, Florida

Judge Tepper sits in Dade City, Pasco County where she hears all the Dependencies, Children and Families in Need of Services, cross-over cases for the families before her, and all of the Domestic Violence Injunction cases in East Pasco County. Her court in Dade City is one of six sites in the US implementing Project ONE [One Judge, No Wrong Door, Equal Access to Justice], a National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges [NCJFCJ] program. Her court is one of Florida's Baby/Early Childhood Court (ECC) initiatives in conjunction with FSU, USF-SP & the Office of Court Improvement. OJJDP, 2017

1) InBrief: The Science of Neglect

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Just as a weak foundation compromises the quality and strength of a house, adverse experiences early in life can impair brain architecture, with negative effects lasting into adulthood.


See also: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/ :

Science tells us that early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. Having responsive relationships with adults, growth-promoting experiences, and healthy environments for all young children helps build sturdy brain architecture and the foundations of resilience. Meanwhile, significant disadvantages can disrupt the developmental process and lead to limited economic and social mobility that threatens the vitality, productivity, and sustainability of society.

2) ACE'S by Vince Felitti, MD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me07G3Erbw8 Academy on Violence and Abuse
This is the full version of his presentation in 2006 and runs 1.5 hours. It discusses the findings that adverse childhood experiences have a significant impact on long-term health outcomes. Well worth the time. The Youtube link will also lead you to the 13-minute version. Published 2010.

3) Robert Woods Johnson Foundation



http://www.rwjf.org/en/our-focus-areas/topics/mental-and-emotional-well-being.html Find links to Early Childhood Development, Family and Social Support, Social Determinants of Health and a wide array of resources & funding.

4) How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime, Nadine Burke Harris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk

Published on Feb 17, 2015

This is one of the seminal TED talks on ACEs. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect, and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who've experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. This is a plea to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
5) National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, Working with the Sensations that Trigger your Client's Traumatic Memories with Bessel van der Kolk, MD and Ruth Buczynski, PhD


Sights, sounds or smells can evoke feelings of fear, panic or terror. Guides to working with people who have been traumatized.

6) Why Aren't Trauma Survivors Warned that Parenthood May Be a PTSD Trigger Christine Cissy White ACESCONNECTION, February 17, 2017
According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse. The abused children all have one thing in common they eventually become adults. Naturally, most of these adults become parents, many of whom have never spoken about what happened to them, leaving trauma symptoms to lie dormant, festering, until acts of Parenting 101 expose them to triggers which send them spiraling.

7) Brain Building Resources with VROOM: Created by the best & brightest in the field of Early Childhood Development.

  1. Encourage parents and caregivers to download the Vroom Brain Building Moments App: http://www.joinvroom.org/people-and-partners
  2. Print and Display Vroom flyers with easy to read brain building activities in the court room (available in English and Spanish): https://dl.orangedox.com/UPnK1F/8_low%20ink%20flyers
  3. Hand out Brain Building resources to parents and caregivers. A variety of free printable tools and activities can be found here: http://www.joinvroom.org/tools-and-activities
  4. Keep a list of brain building tips (by age) on the bench so that you can make a suggestion to parents of fun ways to interact with their child, while supporting healthy brain development. Tip cards available in English and Spanish: https://dl.orangedox.com/UPnK1F/0_for%20professional%20printers/tip%20cards

8) Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family & Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance 2016 Harper Collins. This is an opportunity to peer into the lives impacted by the generational reach of ACEs. A biography by a 31-year-old attorney, a former editor of the Yale Law Journal and survivor of the Poverty of Appalachia and the Rust Belt.
9) The Sum Of My Parts, a survivor's story of dissociative identity disorder, Olga R. Trujillo 2011 New Harbinger Publications, Inc. The life story of an attorney chronicling her heroic journey from survivor to advocate and her remarkable recovery from DID [formerly known as multiple personality disorder]. She unearths the abuse of her childhood, the impact of a nurturing individual in her life and her triumph over the most devastating conditions.

10) Resilience Trumps ACEs


Jubilee Leadership Academy students tell their childhood stories of ACES and the hope and healing through Resilience cards that helped each build new skills and strategies! This 5-minute video captures why every person deserves to know about ACEs, brain development, and Resilience.

Lynn Tepper
Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit, Dade City, Pasco County, Florida

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