Opioid withdrawal in babies can cause severe health issues and emotional and mental challenges far into adulthood.
If left unaddressed, early childhood adversity can lead to school failure and substance abuse.
“We found that by investing in these programs early, you can offset the chance that a youth is going to get involved in the juvenile justice system or the criminal justice system later in life,” said Geoffrey Kolchin, of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The commission has partnered with Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania to bring the PATHS program to over 400 Capital Area Head Start students in Harrisburg. PATHS, or Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies, is a program to help students understand and regulate their emotions and develop resiliency.
“It teaches the teachers how to look to the kids for how they’re feeling,” Kolchin said. “Don’t just assume that the kid is a bad kid or a bad apple. There’s things that are going on in their lives.”
Capital Area Head Start said it hopes to see the program expand in the future.