Trauma Informed Schools: How child maltreatment prevention, detection, and intervention can be integrated into the school-setting


More than ever before, schools and teachers are called upon to identify and respond to the unique challenges of childhood trauma.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) estimates that one out of every four students in U.S. schools has been exposed to a traumatic event that can affect learning and/or behavior. In particular, children who experience the trauma of maltreatment often have difficulties inside and outside of the classroom. These challenges can negatively affect educational well-being and often persist over the long-term, creating unnecessary barriers to learning and independence. In addition, new legislation in many states across the U.S. has identified teachers as mandated reporters of suspected child maltreatment. Finally, there is momentum to integrate prevention programs in the school-setting as unique opportunities for universal primary prevention of maltreatment.  Hence there are isolated efforts currently underway to weave trauma-informed approaches into the fabric of schools, including strategic planning by administrators, staff training, prevention programming, liaising with local youth service agencies, and trauma-sensitive intervention with affected students.


The purpose of this conference is to bring together key members of the research, educational, and child welfare communities in order to create an interagency and transdisciplinary dialog about how schools can more effectively move toward a coordinated, multifaceted trauma-informed framework. The first session will be devoted to child welfare legislations changes and school-based maltreatment prevention efforts. The second session will focus on the developmental impact of trauma and the socioemotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues that educators might face in the classroom. The third session will explore the multiple contexts and policies needed in order to improve educational efforts. The fourth session will cover mandated reporter trainings, as well as highlight how community providers, child advocates, and schools can work in coordination to support teachers and improve the educational experience for children who have been maltreated. The conference will culminate in a panel discussion focused on defining a framework for trauma-informed schools. The panel will be charged with identifying the next essential steps in research, training, and policy that will move the field forward in establishing formal recommendations for mechanisms that can be put in place to support administrators and teachers in promoting child well-being and creating enriched educational environments for students who have experienced trauma.


Monday, October 10

7:30-8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.
Call to Order

8:35-8:55 a.m.
Introductory Remarks

9:00 a.m.-Noon
Session I: Prevention

Mary Pulido, Ph.D., The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Elizabeth Letourneau, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins
David Wolfe, Ph.D., University of Toronto/CAMH Centre for Prevention Science

Noon-1:00 p.m.

1:00-4:00 p.m.
Session II: Developmental Impact of Trauma

Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
Carlo Panlilio, Ph.D., Penn State
Cristin Hall, Ph.D., Penn State

4:00-4:05 p.m.
Day 1 Wrap-up

Tuesday, October 11

8:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks

8:35 - 11:30 a.m.
Session III: Improving Educational Efforts

Phil Fisher, Ph.D., University of Oregon
Susan Stone, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Bradley Stein, Ph.D., RAND Corporation/University of Pittsburgh

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

12:30-3:15 p.m.
Session IV: Breaking Down Barriers, Identifying Supports, and Influencing Policy

Peter Simonsson, MSW, Joseph J. Peters Institute
Joan Duvall-Flynn, Ph.D., NAACP
Christy Tirrell-Corbin, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
Susan Cole, J.D., Harvard/Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative

3:15-4:!5 p.m.
Panel Discussion

4:15-4:20 p.m.
Closing Remarks

*Agenda subject to change 


Session I

Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D.

Mary L. Pulido, PhD, currently serves as the Executive Director of The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the first child protective agency in the world.  The NYSPCC provides mental health, legal and educational services for children, families and professionals involved in the child protection arena.  She has served as a principal investigator for a research study on child sexual abuse prevention for NIH.  She has held senior management positions at the Child Advocacy Center of Montefiore Medical Center; The Children’s Village, a long-term residential treatment facility for abused children; and at Covenant House/Under 21, a crisis shelter for homeless children.

She is also a Medical Reserve Corp “first responder” to disaster trauma through the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and served as a member of the New York City Child Fatality Review Advisory Team from 2006 to 2015.  She currently serves as President of the New York State Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC-NY).

She has a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the City University of New York, a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Sacred Heart University. Dr. Pulido holds the rank of Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.  She has published in the areas of crisis debriefing, prevention of child sexual abuse, trauma recovery, supervised visitation and managing and preventing secondary traumatic stress. She is a blogger for Huffington Post on child protection issues.

Elizabeth Letourneau, Ph.D.

For more than 25 years Dr. Letourneau has conducted research involving sexual abuse prevention, policy and practice. She has contributed substantively to the literature on treatment of sexual offenders, led the largest RCT to date evaluating an intervention for youth who have sexually offended, and conducted research on the assessment of sexual recidivism risk. She has served as the principal investigator on six studies evaluating registration and notification policies, findings of which have been published in more than one dozen peer-review manuscripts and presented internationally (e.g., to INTERPOL), nationally, cited in federal and state court cases including three state Supreme Court cases, and included in testimony to state and federal policymakers.  As the inaugural director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Letourneau has shifted her focus to the prevention of child sexual abuse and is leading or co-leading the development of universal and selective prevention programs. She currently serves on a World Health Organization committee that will develop recommendations for preventing and addressing child sexual abuse.  

David A. Wolfe, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. David Wolfe is a psychologist and author specializing in issues affecting children and youth, with a special focus on child abuse, dating violence, and mental health and well-being. He was a Professor of Psychology at Western University from 1980-2002, where he was the co-founder and Academic Director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in their Faculty of Education. In 2002 he was awarded the inaugural RBC Chair in Children’s Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto. With support from numerous grants and donors he started the Centre for Prevention Science located in London, Ontario in 2004, where he conducts research on school-based strategies to prevent adolescent risk behaviors.

His recent books include Adolescent Risk Behaviors: Why teens experiment and strategies to keep them safe (with P. Jaffe & C. Crooks; Yale University Press, 2006), and Growing Up with Domestic Violence: Assessment, Intervention & Prevention Strategies for Children & Adolescents (with P. Jaffe and M. Campbell; Hogrefe & Huber, 2011). He is also the co-author (with Eric Mash) of Abnormal Child Psychology (Cengage, 2015), a popular university textbook in its 6th edition. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal from 2007-2013.

Dr. Wolfe has been pioneering new approaches to preventing many societal youth problems such as bullying, relationship violence, and substance abuse through universal education programs. Along with his Western colleagues Peter Jaffe and Claire Crooks, he developed and evaluated the Fourth R, a school-based program to promote healthy relationships and well-being among children and youth. The Fourth R is currently taught in over 5000 schools in Canada and the US, and has been identified as a promising violence prevention strategy by numerous reviews of evidence-based programs for youth. His work has been recognized by UNESCO and several professional associations for his contributions to the elimination of violence against women and children. 

Session II

Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D.

Brenda Jones Harden is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland College Park. She has worked over thirty-five years in the early childhood policy, practice, and research arenas.  Her research examines the developmental and mental health needs of young children at environmental risk, particularly those who have been maltreated or exposed to other forms of trauma. A particular focus is preventing maladaptive outcomes in these populations through early childhood and parenting programs, such as early care and education, home visiting services, and infant mental health interventions.

Dr. Jones Harden is the author of numerous publications regarding vulnerable children and families, particularly risk and protective factors that are linked with their developmental and mental health outcomes. She also has conducted numerous implementation and impact evaluations of early childhood and prevention programs. Dr. Jones Harden is the sole author of the book Infants in the child welfare system: A developmental perspective on policy and practice, a co-author of Beyond common sense: Child welfare, child well-being, and the evidence for policy reform, and a co-editor of Child Welfare and Child Well-Being: New perspectives from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being.

As a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Jones Harden uses research to inform the development of interventions to improve the outcomes of vulnerable children and their families. She regularly provides training and consultation to early childhood, parenting, and other intervention programs to improve the quality of services provided to young children and families experiencing trauma and other forms of environmental risk. During much of her career, she was a practitioner working with maltreating children and families. She has directed two programs to prevent child abuse and neglect, and has also worked as a foster care and adoption social worker.

Dr. Jones Harden received the doctoral degree in developmental and clinical psychology from Yale University, and the Master in Social Work degree from New York University.

Carlo Panlilio, Ph.D.

Carlo Panlilio, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education and a faculty member with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State University. Dr. Panlilio received his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland, College Park with a specialization in Developmental Science and a Certificate in Measurement and Statistics. Using a longitudinal latent variable framework, his research focuses on understanding the developmental trajectories of school readiness domains (i.e., emotion regulation and language) across the preschool years for maltreated children. Additionally, he is interested in understanding how child welfare-specific context factors of placement stability and caregiver quality at different time points influence development. Finally, he is interested in understanding how these different developmental trajectories predict later academic achievement.

Cristin Hall, Ph.D.

Dr. Hall is in her second year as an assistant professor in the School Psychology Program at Penn State. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Penn State in 2000 and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2003. Dr. Hall received her doctoral training from the Penn State School Psychology Program (graduated 2011). Dr. Hall has many clinical and school-based experiences with children and adults in a variety of settings including residential treatment, community mental health, corrections, and private practice. Her work as a research scientist for the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and the Child Study Centers at Penn State sparked her interest in the dissemination of evidence-based practice using the internet and other technology-assisted platforms. 

Session III

Brian Bliss, Ed.D.

Dr. Brian A. Bliss currently serves as Superintendent of Solanco School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Dr. Bliss is a graduate of Penn State, earning both a B.S.Ed. in English Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching at the university. He earned his doctorate from the University of Delaware in Administration and Policy in 2006.

Dr. Bliss has served as an assistant superintendent, middle school principal, high school principal, and high school English teacher. He served as an adjunct instructor for nine years at Penn State, teaching primarily school law.  He has also taught classes in teacher supervision, evaluation, coaching, staff development, and curriculum design and has served as a guest lecturer multiple times in other courses at the university.

Dr. Bliss has authored numerous articles for educational publications and presented at numerous conferences, as well.   He serves on Pennsylvania State University Education Outreach Advisory Board.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and the United Way of Lancaster County. 

Dr. Bliss received the Pennsylvania Association for Curriculum and Developments Award in 2013.  He lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife, Melissa, and three children, Lauren, Andrew, and Dylan. 

Susan Stone, Ph.D.

Susan Stone is an Associate Professor and the Catherine Mary and Eileen Clare Hutto Chair for Social Services in Public Education at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her B.A. in Behavioral Science and her A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.  Her substantive area of interest lies in the intersection of social welfare and education.  Specifically, she is interested in (1) the educational experiences of under-served student subgroups (e.g., youth involved in foster care and other human service systems), (2) how school organizational and institutional features shape student experiences in schools, (3) the organization and arrangement of school-based social service delivery systems, and (4) the attributes of school social work practice and its relationship to student and school academic performance.  Her research typically draws upon school administrative data sources, with attention to methods to extract causally informative information from observational data sources.  She has most recently been engaged in collaborations with the San Francisco Unified School District to leverage administrative data to better understand district- and school-level social and related service delivery dynamics. A listing of her publications can be found here:

Bradley Stein, Ph.D.

Bradley D. Stein, M.D., Ph.D. (M.D. University of Pittsburgh 1995, M.P.H University of Pittsburgh 1997, Ph.D. Health Policy, RAND Graduate School 2002) is a Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh. A practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Stein has extensive experience in examining the implementation of mental health interventions in schools and other child-serving settings, with a focus on school responses to trauma and violence. He served as a humanitarian aid worker in Romania, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990s, and in subsequent years has been involved in schools’ mental health response to a range of national and international disasters and crises. A national leader in examining the implementation of mental health interventions in schools, Dr. Stein was one of the original leaders of an academic-community partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District that developed, implemented, evaluated, and disseminate CBITS, an effective school-based intervention for children exposed to violence. Dr. Stein was PI on a federally funded study examining the implementation of a school-based suicide prevention program, and was a co-investigator in a federally funded project to create SSET, a modification of CBITS for use by non-clinical school professionals. He is currently leading a team evaluating the California Mental Health Services Administration Student Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiative and recently led several federal projects to develop strategies to enhance the sustainable implementation of effective school-based interventions. Dr. Stein lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and four children.

Session IV

Peter Simonsson, MSW

Peter Simonsson is a Swedish Ph.D. student in Social Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University (NYU), and a Bachelor’s degree in Practical Philosophy from Lund’s University in Sweden. Peter’s research investigates violence in the severely mentally ill population and the risk factors that can evoke violent behaviors in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Peter is also interested in childhood abuse and developing more knowledge about the impact of such trauma on children and the risk factors that can cause children to develop more severe psychopathology later in their lives. Peter moved to the United States in 2006 to study clinical social work in New York. Since 2009 Peter has provided services and treatment to sexually abused children as a therapist and later on as a “Director of Survivor Services” at the Joseph J. Peters Institute (JJPI) in Philadelphia, PA. As a Director, Peter was responsible for the clinical care of more than 1000 families annually who received outpatient and prevention services for sexual abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence. Before leaving JJPI, Peter was part of the task force that developed Philadelphia’s first “Johns School”. He is a licensed clinical social worker and serves on several committees and task forces to reduce childhood sexual abuse, prostitution and sex trafficking in Philadelphia.

Joan Duvall-Flynn, Ed.D.

Dr. Joan Evelyn Duvall-Flynn is a retired, career educator whose experiences encompass levels from pre-school to graduate school. As a classroom teacher, observations of the impact of trauma and grief on school performance led her to complete a graduate degree in Pastoral Counseling with a clinical emphasis from Neumann University in 1987.  She has watched the rising impact of trauma as a public health issue over the past 30 years. 

In 2010 because of her work for the NAACP, Dr. Duvall-Flynn began serious study of the impact of emotional and psychological trauma on school performance as identified through writings in the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology and juvenile justice.  As a result, she organized experts to present on this issue at several Conferences on the State of Education in Pennsylvania hosted annually by NAACP Media Area Unit with the support of Cheyney University of PA. 

In 2012, working with Chester County Senator Andrew Dinniman, Dr. Duvall-Flynn organized the Trauma Informed Education Coalition (TIEC) which has presented information workshops to educators, public school nurses and other non-instructional support staff, and at a number of public forums.

Duvall-Flynn has presented nationally on the topic of “Trauma as an Impediment to School Performance” at conferences including the 2012 National Association of Black School Educators Convention, the 2015, One Child, Many Hands Summit at University of Pennsylvania, and for the Delaware Valley Minority Achievement Consortium.

In 2014 Duvall–Flynn submitted for NAACP adoption at its National Convention, a proposal for the NAACP to work nationwide for Trauma Informed Education. This proposal was adopted and is now a part of the NAACP’s on-going agenda.

Advocating for state policy, Duvall-Flynn’s 2015 testimony before the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) in support of the inclusion of trauma as a funding factor resulted in acknowledgement of the issue along with recommendations that the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education develop protocols for schools to address trauma.. TIEC is presently collecting date to influence those protocols.

Advocating for national policy, Duvall-Flynn submitted testimony to the House Committee on Education and Labor.  This work successfully influenced ESSA funding.

Advocating for teacher training, Duvall-Flynn worked with the Education Department of Cheyney University to develop a certificate program, Trauma Informed Education Studies (TIES) which will specifically equip educators to work with traumatized children.

Duvall-Flynn is a founding board member of Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice, an organization with the mission to influence national policy on trauma informed care.  She is Chair of TIEC, president of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference and of the NAACP Media Area Unit. She lives in Glen Mills, PA along with her husband, Dr. Julius B. Flynn, Jr. They are the parents of three adult children and have two grandchildren.

Christy Tirrell-Corbin, Ph.D.

Christy Tirrell-Corbin, PhD, is the Executive Director of the University of Maryland (UMD), Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI) and the director of the UMD Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education  (EC/ECSE) Program. Her research interests focus on young children at environmental risk due to poverty, teachers in high poverty communities and family engagement.  She has done extensive work with in-service teachers in Title I communities around strategies to increase family engagement in culturally and contextually responsive ways.  Earlier in her career, Dr. Tirrell-Corbin worked in foster care and adoption in New York City, where she served as a casework manager and facilitated workshops for both biological and adoptive parents. 

Dr. Tirrell-Corbin was the Project Director/Principal Investigator for CECEI’s evaluation of Maryland’s Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Grant and is currently the Principal Investigator on projects focused on family engagement, professional development and inquiry-based curricula for children birth to five.  She is the Co-Principal Investigator on an evaluation of the District of Columbia, Quality Improvement Network, funded through an Early Head Start Grant.  Dr. Tirrell-Corbin has served as a consultant to a number of organizations to include:  PBS Kids and National Geographic.

Michael Gregory, J.D.

Michael Gregory is Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he teaches and practices law as part of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI). TLPI is a partnership between Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children, a non-profit child advocacy organization in Boston. TLPI’s mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to violence succeed in school.  At HLS, Gregory co-teaches the Education Law Clinic, which has two components:  law students in the Individual Advocacy component represent families of traumatized children in the special education system; students in the Legislative Lawyering component learn and practice the skills of lobbying and policy advocacy to advance TLPI’s public policy agenda for trauma-sensitive schools. With his colleagues at TLPI, Gregory is co-author of the project’s two landmark publications Helping Traumatized Children Learn, Volumes 1 and 2, and he also writes in the field of special education law. Gregory has also taught courses in Education Law and Policy and Education Reform Movements. Gregory received his JD from Harvard Law School in 2004, graduating cum laude.  He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University in 1998, and received a Master of Arts in Teaching, also from Brown University, in 1999.  Gregory began his law career as a Skadden Fellow.



The conference will take place at the historic Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus. A block of rooms has been reserved from Sunday, October 9 through Monday, October 10 at the rate of $132/night with the option of a double or a king bed.

Please use the group code: CHIJ16B (The code expires Thursday, September 8)

Reservations can be made at the Nittany Lion Inn’s website:

If you have problems reserving a room online using the group code, reservations can be made over the phone, toll-free at 800-233-7505.


General Registration

  • $175 Early (until September 2)
  • $225 Regular (beginning September 3)

Penn State Faculty/Staff Registration

  • $75 PSU Faculty/Staff

Student Registration

  • $50 Student

Conference Fee

The fee covers all instruction, program materials, refreshment breaks, and two lunches. Registrants are responsible for all other meals and lodging.


All registrations and payments must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, September 23. After this date, please contact Cheri McConnell at or 814-865-2193 for information about on-site check-in; if space permits, you can register for an additional $30.


You will receive an e-mail confirmation upon completeing your registration. You will be alerted promptly of any cancellations or changes. If some unforeseen event forces Penn State to cancel or postpone the program, you will receive a full refund of your registration fee; however, the University cannot be held responsible for any related costs, including cancellation fees assessed by airlines or travel agencies.


If your request to withdraw is received by Wednesday, September 14, we can issue a partial refund. Send your written request by email to Cheri McConnell.  A $50 administrative fee will be charged for each withdrawal.


Anyone who is registered but cannot attend may identify a substitute. A full refund will be issued after the substitution registration has been completed. A registration form and full payment by the substitute are required. Substitutes are eligible to register at the same fee.


Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing special accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Cheri McConnell at or 814-865-2193 at least two weeks prior to the conference.


By Air

The State College/University Park Airport (airport code: SCE) is located near the conference site. Call 814-865-5511 or visit the State College/University Park Airport website for information on flights. We recommend that you make the State College/University Park Airport your final airport destination. Please inquire with your hotel if they offer courtesy airport transportation. Taxis are often located outside of the airport baggage claim area, curbside. Participants are responsible for arranging ground transportation between the airport, hotels, and conference site. Please view this University Park Airport Taxis and Shuttles page

By Car

The University Park campus is located within driving distance of many major cities, including Harrisburg (1.5 hrs., 90 mi.), Pittsburgh (3 hrs., 137 mi.), Philadelphia (3.5 hrs., 194 mi.), Baltimore (3.5 hrs., 155 mi.), Washington, D.C. (4 hrs., 190 mi.), New York City (5 hrs., 250 mi.), and Toronto (6.5 hrs., 304 mi.). See our Visitors and Neighbors website for detailed visitor information, including maps.

By Bus

The following companies provide bus service between major cities to State College, Pennsylvania: Greyhound and Megabus

Contact Us

Conference Information

Cheri McConnell, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Phone: 814-865-2193




The Penn State Psychological Clinic is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The Psychological Clinic maintains responsibility for the program and its content.  Please contact Dr. Brian Rabian (, if you would like additional information. 

Social Workers
Penn State is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors to provide continuing education courses and programs for these professions under sections 47.36 (a)(3), 48.36 (a)(3), and 49.36 (a)(3) of the Pennsylvania code.

Pennsylvania Act 48
Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider. Prior to enrolling, professional educators are encouraged to confirm that this program fits their school district's professional development plan for Act 48.

Penn State will report Act 48 hours to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the educator. Proper authorization is necessary and, to ensure that Act 48 hours are reportable, certain data is required. This includes the educators' last name, date of birth, and Social Security Number. Be sure to include this data on your registration. A $50 administrative fee will apply for data that is provided after the program is completed.

Penn State College of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Presenters, organizers, and content specialists have indicated no conflict of interest.

For more information, contact Cheri McConnell or 814-865-2193.