Outline of the state of Kentucky

Professional Development for Trauma

Professional Development for Trauma

State law requires districts to provide professional development for school personnel on trauma-informed practices.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.4416 Trauma-informed approach to education — Definitions — School counselor or school-based mental health services provider to facilitate creation of trauma-informed team — Training and guidance of school personnel to assist in recognizing and dealing with issues of student trauma — Application to charter schools — Collaboration for provision of services between two or more school districts or between school districts and educational cooperatives, or other public or private entities — Annual report to department of number and placement of school counselors in each district, source of funding, summary of job duties, and percentage of time devoted to each duty — Department of Education to make available toolkits to develop trauma-informed approach in schools — Plan and strategies for implementing trauma-informed approach.

(1) For purposes of this section:

  • (a) “School counselor” means an individual who holds a valid school counselor certificate issued in accordance with the administrative regulations of the Education Professional Standard Board;
  • (b) “School-based mental health services provider” means a licensed or certified school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or other qualified mental health professional as defined in KRS 202A.011; and
  • (c) “Trauma-informed approach” means incorporating principles of trauma awareness and trauma-informed practices, as recommended by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in a school in order to foster a safe, stable, and understanding learning environment for all students and staff and ensuring that all students are known well by at least one (1) adult in the school setting.

(2) The General Assembly recognizes that all schools must provide a place for students to feel safe and supported to learn throughout the school day, and that any trauma a student may have experienced can have a significant impact on the ability of a student to learn. The General Assembly directs all public schools to adopt a trauma-informed approach to education in order to better recognize, understand, and address the learning needs of students impacted by trauma and to foster a learning environment where all students, including those who have been traumatized, can be safe, successful, and known well by at least one (1) adult in the school setting.


  • (a) Beginning July 1, 2021, or as funds and qualified personnel become available, each school district and each public charter school shall employ at least one (1) school counselor in each school with the goals of having one (1) school counselor for every two hundred fifty (250) students and the school counselor spending sixty percent (60%) or more of his or her time in direct services to students.
  • (b) A school counselor or school-based mental health services provider at each school shall facilitate the creation of a trauma-informed team to identify and assist students whose learning, behavior, and relationships have been impacted by trauma. The trauma-informed team may consist of school administrators, school counselors, school-based mental health services providers, family resource and youth services coordinators, school nurses, and any other school or district personnel.
  • (c) Each school counselor or school-based mental health services provider providing services pursuant to this section, and the trauma-informed team members described in paragraph (b) of this subsection, shall provide training, guidance, and assistance to other administrators, teachers, and staff on:
    1. Recognizing symptoms of trauma in students;
    1. Utilizing interventions and strategies to support the learning needs of those students; and
    1. Implementing a plan for a trauma-informed approach as described in subsection (5) of this section.
  • (d)
    1. School districts may employ or contract for the services of school- based mental health services providers to assist with the development and implementation of a trauma-informed approach and the development of a trauma-informed team pursuant to this subsection and to enhance or expand student mental health support services as funds and qualified personnel become available.
    1. School-based mental health services providers may provide services through a collaboration between two (2) or more school districts or between school districts and educational cooperatives or any other public or private entities, including but not limited to local or regional mental health day treatment programs.
  • (e) No later than November 1, 2019, and each subsequent year, the local school district superintendent shall report to the department the number and placement of school counselors in the district. The report shall include the source of funding for each position, as well as a summary of the job duties and work undertaken by each counselor and the approximate percent of time devoted to each duty over the course of the year.

(4) On or before July 1, 2020, the Department of Education shall make available a toolkit that includes guidance, strategies, behavioral interventions, practices, and techniques to assist school districts and public charter schools in developing a trauma-informed approach in schools.

(5) On or before July 1, 2021, each local board of education and board of a public charter school shall develop a plan for implementing a trauma-informed approach in its schools. The plan shall include but not be limited to strategies for:

  • (a) Enhancing trauma awareness throughout the school community;
  • (b) Conducting an assessment of the school climate, including but not limited to inclusiveness and respect for diversity;
  • (c) Developing trauma-informed discipline policies;
  • (d) Collaborating with the Department of Kentucky State Police, the local sheriff, and the chief of police to create procedures for notification of student-involved trauma; and
  • (e) Providing services and programs designed to reduce the negative impact of trauma, support critical learning, and foster a positive and safe school environment for every student.
Policy Type