Caring for the Vulnerable Child
Caring for the Vulnerable Child was developed because every child wants to be seen, heard, and known—and they especially want and need that connection with the adults who are responsible for their care.
Caring for the Vulnerable Child is a two-generation healing model created for families as a response to the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study. It is a creative and accessible four-piece curricula that integrates biblical principles with social science data on the effects of abandonment, abuse and loss on a developing child. Caring for the Vulnerable Child: Welcoming Children Who Have Experienced Neglect, Abandonment and Abuse by Steven and Celestia Tracy is the foundational resource for a ten-module connecting sequence that includes educational lesson plans (grades 1–3 and grades 4–6) and workbooks for both children and parents. These resources address difficult issues and behaviors vulnerable children struggle with: nightmares, anger, defiance, distrust, dishonesty and anxiety. The adult workbook, A Parent’s Journey to a Child’s Heart, guides parents and caregivers through personal reflections, creative games, grounding somatic exercises, and expressive art activities that equip them for the deeper connections a hurting child needs. Caring for the Vulnerable Child is designed to be utilized within multiple contexts to facilitate deeper connections between vulnerable children and the adults who love them: in churches as class curriculum, in organizations for staff trainings, in counselor offices as a supplemental resource, and in the home as a parenting guide.
Caring for the Vulnerable Child model will strengthen the adult-child bond in all families as well as develop emotional health and resiliency in children who have suffered loss, abuse, and other forms of trauma. This two-generational healing model helps both children and caregivers find healing rhythms both independently and as a family.
This Mending the Soul trauma care model for families creates a sustainable and visible difference by transforming not just individual lives but whole communities.
If you are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver who loves children and would like to be equipped to help them build resilience and emotional competence, then this program is for you. Caring for the Vulnerable Child resources and training will equip you to deepen the bond and heart connection every child needs with the adults who love them.
If you work for an organization that cares for traumatized children you know the specialized care required and understand that they have more intense and complex needs than their non-traumatized peers. Caring for the Vulnerable Child will help you navigate these often-tumultuous situations and give you the tools needed to support these children.
Caring for the Vulnerable Child is both a prevention curricula for all children and an after-care model designed for any child who has experienced loss, disrupted attachment, or abuse. We are now offering two separate monthly online training classes: one for organizations, churches & agencies, and one tailored for parents who desire to go through this curriculum with their own children at home.
Mending the Soul is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Your fully tax-deductible donation allows us to provide resources and training to families in need locally and around the world at a discounted rate. There is a desperate need for a biblical trauma care model such as Caring for the Vulnerable Child for families in pain. Every dollar donated has a far reaching effect as Mending the Soul’s sustainable model equips leaders and parents for trauma care within their own communities and families
Thank you for partnering with Mending the Soul to help release this dynamic trauma care model for families everywhere!
Caring for the Vulnerable Child is a creative and accessible four-piece curricula that integrates biblical principles with social science data on the effects of abandonment, abuse and loss on a developing child.
The four piece curricula for Caring for the Vulnerable Child is now available in our online store.
Mending the Soul has cataloged and researched relevant resources to support parents and caregivers of vulnerable children and the communities that serve them. Check it out!
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Anybody who wants to work with children using the Vulnerable Child curriculum should complete the online training. There are two trainings available. One is focused on parents/caregivers who would like to use the curriculum in their home with their children. The other is designed to train people who would like to become Vulnerable Child Program Coordinators and work with families, usually through a church or other organization.
The online course runs for four weeks. There are similarities and differences between the parent/caregiver course and the program coordinator course. Both provide a rich background regarding abuse and trauma, multiple resources and best practices for using the curriculum. The program coordinator course goes more into the implementation of the curriculum and the parent/caregiver course spends more time on parenting strategies and skills. Both courses require a minimum amount of homework to help solidify learning.
Because the courses are online, each participant can complete the work on their own timeframe within the parameters set by the online instructor. There is a beginning date, an end date, and each assignment must be completed within the week it is assigned.
All families would benefit by using the Vulnerable Child curriculum. Foster and adopted children inherently have experienced trauma so families who are involved in either would benefit a great deal by either doing the curriculum in their homes or attending a Vulnerable Child group. Biological children who have experienced trauma, such as divorce, death, incarceration, etc., also would experience healing through the curriculum. Additionally, using the Vulnerable Child curriculum in homes that have both bio and foster/adopted children can be very powerful in many ways. Finally, the Vulnerable Child curriculum can be helpful in homes with children with low trauma by creating a stronger connection and level of communication.
The program is structured in 10-week sessions with weekly topics that are found in both the parent and student resources. The recommendation for using the Vulnerable Child curriculum in the family setting is to have the parents/caregivers doing their work in the textbook and workbook one week ahead of the children. The ideal structure is to have the families meet weekly to do the activities in the student workbook and to have an open dialog about the focus topic. However, with the understanding that not all children learn the same way, it is strongly recommended that the parents use the Teacher’s Resource book and complete each week in a seven-day period in a manner that is pleasing to all participants. That might be a short session each day or several longer sessions on days that have less outside activities, depending on the structure of the family and needs of the children. Try to establish a routine and stick with it for the full ten weeks.
The Vulnerable Child curriculum was originally designed to be run by a group of trained facilitators within a church community. The design was to have ten weekly sessions of approximately 1 ½ hours long. During that time, for the first hour, the children would be in one room with a facilitator working on their activities and workbook and the parents would be in another room with another facilitator working on their activities and workbook. For the last ½ hour of each session, the parents and children come together to discuss their work.
However, we know that that structure is not always possible so there are options: The children’s materials could easily be used in a Sunday school setting, or the parents’ materials would make a wonderful structure for weekly small group sessions.
In order to become a Certified Vulnerable Child Program Coordinator you must meet a number of requirements. The first is to have complete the Mending the Soul Basic Small Group. This requirement is in place to assure that our Program Coordinators have completed their own work and healing before they become involved in the healing of others. Next, you would need to complete the four-week online Vulnerable Child Facilitator training. There is a class offered approximately every 6 weeks. After completion of the course, you would need to have a background check, provide two references and sign a facilitator’s agreement.
We have just completed the training of our first group of Program Coordinators. However, at this point, we do not have any groups running in the country. When we begin to have programs for people to attend, we will provide a “Find a Group” page on the Mending the Soul website so check back often.
There are four pieces to the Vulnerable Child curriculum:
Caring for the Vulnerable Child: Welcoming Children Who Have Experienced Neglect, Abandonment and Abuse written by Steven and Celestia Tracy – this is a textbook to be read by the parents.
A Parent’s Journey to the Heart of a Child: Parent or Caregiver Workbook written by Celestia Tracy – this resource is to be used by parents with the textbook.
The Vulnerable Child Teacher’s Guide written by Elizabeth Boyd and Celestia Tracy – this book is used by parents/caregivers or program coordinators to run the course.
My Journal for the Good and Hard Stuff written by Celestia and Kayla Tracy – the final component to be used by the children during sessions and through the course.
The topics by session are as follows:
Session 1: All About Me!
Session 2: Transitions
Session 3: Safety and Comfort
Session 4: My Private Heart
Session 5: I’m Mad
Session 6: Stones
Session 7: Gold Coins
Session 8: Nightmares and Fear
Session 9: Two Kinds of Touching
Session 10: Secret Touch