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Trauma-Informed Practice & Resilience

Providing expertise and resources to help overcome trauma and its effects and encourage environments designed for safe, healthy, and engaged learning.


We are, each of us, more than the traumatic events that have happened to us. Being trauma-sensitive in our environments, and our relationships, is about acknowledging the experiences of the children, youth, and adults in our communities, and then creating the conditions in which they can heal and thrive.”

– Natalie Walrond, WestEd

The enduring impacts of childhood trauma are widespread. Many educators and other child- and youth-serving professionals—from early childhood through young adulthood—see the effects of trauma in their environments every day.

Knowledge, skills, and services are required to help boost resilience, promote well-being, and mitigate the impacts of trauma for children nationwide.

Trauma-Informed Practice & Resilience at WestEd works to ensure all children thrive by supporting child- and youth-serving systems in these ways:

  • Ensuring adults recognize trauma and have effective tools and strategies to serve children who are experiencing trauma and its effects
  • Encouraging self- and collective care so that the work is sustainable
  • Promoting trauma-informed leadership, policies, practices, norms, and environments

Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety

Extending our reach and impact in this area of work, WestEd leads the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (SEL Center). The Sel Center believes that when all children are educated in places of equity, safety, and learning, and when they receive the integrated academic, social, and emotional supports that meet their individual needs, then they can achieve their greatest potential in K-12 education, as well as in college, career, and life.

Guiding Principles

WestEd delivers solutions to help integrate trauma-informed practices with other whole-child initiatives, such as social and emotional learning approaches, restorative practice approaches, and school climate and culture efforts.

We are guided in this work by the WestEd mission, vision, and values. We also strengthen our work with you in accordance with the following principles.

  • Equity

    We will seek to strengthen children, families, and communities, especially those who have been underserved.

  • Courage

    We will be data-driven in our work, think creatively and expansively, try new approaches, and share important evidence-based findings.

  • Collaboration

    We will collaborate across sectors and disciplines. We will work to surmount the barriers and obstacles 
between us.

  • Asset-Based

    We will value the individuals, families, and communities we serve and the expertise they bring to this work.

  • Sustainability

    To promote equity and build capacity, we will support individuals, organizations, and communities in leading and sustaining their own work.

News & Events


WestEd brings deep experience and understanding to provide support for children, youth, and families, especially those who have experienced poverty, homelessness, foster care, immigration, physical or sexual assault, learning or developmental challenges, and racial or gender discrimination.

Our service focus, designed around your needs, includes the following solutions.

  • Professional Learning

    WestEd delivers in-person, virtual, and hybrid training and coaching. Our work supports a range of customizable formats, including support for Train-the-Trainer (TTT) and/or coaching models, Communities of Practice/Professional Learning Communities, and support for creation of credit-bearing courses.

  • Systems Building

    Our work includes support for workgroup/steering committee facilitation, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, and systems design including cross-sector convening and collective action facilitation.

  • Research & Evaluation

    WestEd partners with child- and youth-serving organizations to design experimental and quasi-experimental studies and program and economic evaluations.

  • Finance & Policy

    Our expertise includes identifying creative financing strategies, conducting policy reviews, and other related activities.

Contact Us to Learn More


WestEd improved the confidence of our teaching and support staff in implementing trauma-responsive practices. The training was supportive of participants and gave them strategies to build a trauma-responsive classroom to support all children and families.”

– Cheryl Horney, M.A., Child Development Program Director

This [TIP-ECE] training exceeded our expectations and we look forward to bringing additional trainings to our community.

– Tammy Burns, Manager, Early Childhood Council of Kern Bakersfield, CA

[Our training] has provided staff with the tools necessary to work with the populations we serve on a daily basis, and at the same time trained staff on how to recognize their own triggers and take care of themselves in the process.

– Stacy Barnett, Child Development & Shelter Services Manager, Alliance Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault, Bakersfied, CA


Our team is comprised of leaders from education, health, mental health, and other professions who are highly skilled bringing evidence-based and promising approaches to clients working directly with trauma-impacted children.

  • BethAnn BerlinerBethAnn BerlinerBethAnn Berliner is a Senior Researcher and Project Director with more than two decades of research and technical assistance experience working across sectors to improve the academic and health outcomes of preK–12 students.View Full Bio
  • Jenny BetzJenny BetzJenny Betz is a School Climate Specialist in WestEd’s Health & Justice Program, providing coaching, training, and technical assistance with an emphasis on school climate and culture, trauma-informed practices and systems, equity, stakeholder engagement, youth leadership, bias-based bullying, and sustainability.View Full Bio
  • Erin BrowderErin BrowderErin is a member of WestEd’s Health & Justice Program. She provides technical assistance for K–12 initiatives relating to trauma-informed topics, school transformation, leadership development, social-emotional learning, effective collaboration, and building safe and supportive school climates.
  • Cecelia DodgeCecelia DodgeCecelia Dodge is a Project Director with more than 25 years’ experience as a leader in special education. She works with school districts and state agencies to build fruitful relationships with stakeholders and to improve system and student outcomes.View Full Bio
  • Karen Moran FinelloKaren Moran FinelloKaren Moran Finello, PhD, is an applied developmental psychologist with a specialization in birth to five-year-olds and their families and works as Project Director in WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention.View Full Bio
  • Christina PateChristina PateChristina Pate is a Senior Associate and Project Director with 15 years of experience in education, public health, wellness services, and service systems.View Full Bio
  • Natalie RomerNatalie RomerNatalie Romer is involved in state and district capacity building to implement multi-tiered systems of social, emotional, and behavioral supports. Romer has over 15 years of experience working to improve outcomes for youth and families across youth-serving systems.
  • Natalie WalrondNatalie WalrondNatalie Walrond serves as director of the national Center to Improve Social & Emotional Learning and School Safety housed at WestEd. In this role, she currently develops WestEd’s projects that invite partnership across social sectors (such as health, justice, and child welfare) to strengthen children, families, and communities.View Full Bio