Project Description

The Infant-Toddler Trauma-Informed Care (ITTI Care) Project leverages the existing early childhood education workforce support system to expand and strengthen trauma-informed knowledge and practice within the communities they serve. ITTI Care intervenes through training, consultation, and coaching at multiple levels of the early childhood education support system, using a trauma-informed approach to promote culturally responsive, relationship-based practices.

Built around promotion of adult capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation, this model centers workforce wellness as the fundamental component of high-quality early childhood education. ITTI Care works closely with teachers and administrators at all levels of early childhood infrastructure to identify individualized changes in policy and practice at the classroom, center, and systems levels, always prioritizing relationships as a central driver for teacher well-being.

Project staff will train and support classroom coaches to become experts in trauma-informed child care. These ITTI Care-trained coaches will train and coach infant/toddler teachers and child care administrators to:

  1. Promote understanding of the impacts of stress and trauma on infants and toddlers
  2. Develop infant/toddler teacher skills to form supportive, resilience-building relationships and environments, and
  3. Identify strategies to support child care provider health and well-being.

The ITTI Care model builds on previous work on the Impact of Toxic Stress on Self-Regulation.

Project Goals

  • Build a professional development framework for the infant/toddler child care workforce across the state of North Carolina to promote trauma-informed child care.
  • Improve caregiver knowledge about trauma, classroom structure and climate, caregiver/child relationships, and infant/toddler self-regulation.
  • Evaluate the effects of ITTI Care on early childhood educator stress and wellness, classroom climate and relationships, and young child language and social-emotional outcomes.

Project Team Members

Ennis Baker, Sharon Little, Lauren Thomason, Sonya Ulrich


  • NC DHHS, Division of Child Development and Early Education
  • Local Smart Start/Partnerships for Children (Anson, Cumberland, Wilkes)
  • Stanly Community College
  • NC Child Care Resource & Referral System (Child Care Resources Inc., Southwestern Child Development Commission, Child Care Services Association, Guilford Child Development, ITQEP Project)
  • UNC’s NC Child Care Health & Safety Resource Center

Related Resources