A whole-school approach.

Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) is a nationally recognized collaboration between Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School. Our mission is to ensure that children impacted by family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school. To achieve this mission, TLPI advocates for “trauma-sensitive schools” where school-wide trauma sensitivity is a regular part of how a safe and supportive school is run. TLPI works directly in schools to help them become trauma sensitive, providing training or technical assistance. At its Harvard Education Law Clinic, TLPI also represents individual families in the special education process on behalf of children with disabilities who are struggling in schools and who have experienced adversity.

Using MAC’s signature multiple strategic approach, TLPI brings the voices of educators from its work in schools and the voices of parents from its cases to work for laws and policies that provide schools with the knowledge and resources they need to meet the needs of all children. TLPI’s advocacy is based on interdisciplinary research and collaboration across a wide array of professional disciplines, including education, law and mental health.


TLPI’s groundbreaking publication, Helping Traumatized Children Learn: A Report and Policy Agenda, describes the impact of trauma on learning and proposes a policy agenda. Nearly 100,000 copies have been distributed or sold. Download or purchase a copy.

Guide-Cover-Teal-232TLPI’s follow-up publication, Helping Traumatized Children Learn II: Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools, offers a guide to a process for creating trauma-sensitive schools and a policy agenda to provide the support schools need to achieve this goal. Download or purchase a copy

The New York Times has highlighted the work of TLPI and the Brockton Public Schools, in an article by David Bornstein titled, Schools That Separate the Child From the Trauma. Agreeing with TLPI’s whole school approach, he said, “Making sure that schools and other social services are sensitized is not just about assisting those children who have endured extreme stress. It’s not just about helping them get through school, either. It’s about taking care of everyone.” (emphasis added). You can view the entire article on the New York Times website.

Please visit http://www.traumasensitiveschools.org, our official website for TLPI.