Developmental Trauma Action Alliance

What is the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance (DTAA)?

A multi-sector collective formed to effect transformative, systemic change to improve the long-term outcomes and overall well-being of children, youth and adults who have experienced Developmental Trauma.

What is Developmental Trauma (DT)?

Significant adverse childhood experiences, particularly in the first 3 years of life, can lead to profound changes in our brain and body that put people at risk. Our brains have evolved to respond and adapt to stressful experiences as a necessary survival mechanism. These adaptations can undermine healthy development and become damaging patterns or “blueprints” that determine lifelong relationships, mental and physical health, learning, living and parenting. We call this process and its impacts Developmental Trauma. We now know what helps, but too often Developmental Trauma goes unrecognized and unaddressed.

As a society we must do better at identifying, understanding and healing Developmental Trauma in children, in adults hurt as children, and in families and communities where Developmental Trauma has become intergenerational.

Our Vision:

A province that provides every child and every person with the necessary supports to heal from early adversity and Developmental Trauma, and realize their full potential.

Our Mission:

With the understanding that Developmental Trauma negatively impacts physical, emotional and psychological health and well-being throughout childhood and over the life span:

  • To provide families – birth, foster, adoptive, kinship, customary care – with the specialized knowledge and training to help them understand Developmental Trauma and help their children heal from it
  • To provide front line professionals with the training to recognize Developmental Trauma, and the tools to work with children and families in the healing of it
  • To grow and share the knowledge and understanding of Developmental Trauma as a fundamental condition of children and families involved with child welfare
  • To engage with policy makers and community leaders across sectors and advocate for training of professionals and provision of services and support from a Developmental Trauma perspective for all children, youth and adults in Ontario

Our Values:

  • Accepting of the lived experience and truth of every person, and the knowledge that Developmental Trauma impacts a person physically, emotionally and psychologically over the life course

  • Inclusive of the value of all family constellations that provide a supportive framework around children
  • Courageous in our advocacy for children who have experienced childhood trauma
  • Innovative in our pursuit of opportunities for healing

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