Training Creates Safe Spaces for Kids

Safe spaces is a free, online training designed to help individuals working with children and youth recognize and respond to signs of trauma and stress.



Take the Training

Anyone who works with children and youth is invited to take the training. These individuals may include coaches, mentors, tutors, California State-Certified Wellness Coaches working in and outside of clinical settings, early care providers, and school staff—such as educators, school nurses, social workers, librarians, administrative support, school bus drivers and yard duty support. Each module is about two hours and is filled with case examples, videos, strategies and practices. Select the module(s) that best fit your professional needs:

Module 1: Ages 0-5

Módulo 1: Edades 0-5

Module 2: Ages 5-11

Módulo 2: Edades 5-11

Module 3: Ages 12-18

Módulo 3: Edades 12-18

NOTE: For Module 1 (ages 0-5), you will need to create a California Early Childhood Online (CECO) account here.
For all technical assistance, please call 1-800-770-6339 or e-mail

Discover Complementary Resources

New complementary resources, made with support from the Sacramento County Office of Education, are now available to support schools and districts on their Safe Spaces journey. They include a PowerPoint deck and facilitation guides for Communities of Practice to further discuss and explore the content of the training.

Safe Spaces: Trauma-Informed Training slide deck graphic with OSG and SCOE logos
Professional Learning Format Online 2 Hours Self-Paced 3 Age Groups Available in English and Spanish

Participant Learning Outcomes

Through participating in the online trauma-informed professional learning module, learners will be able to:

  • Describe foundational concepts related to trauma-informed practice, healing and resilience.
  • Develop awareness of the brain’s response to stress, its impact on behavior and protective factors on mental and physical health and well-being.
  • Describe the essential role of positive relationships in protecting social, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • Recognize developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive trauma-informed and healing-centered supports.


The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) has allocated the Office of California Surgeon General  million to develop a trauma-informed training for early care and education personnel.

The training is designed to engage the learner with case examples, strategies, videos and practices – each varied according to the developmental stage served.

  • Understanding your role in promoting resilience and healing
    • Understanding trauma-informed practice
    • Preventing ACEs
    • Promoting healing and resilience
    • Reflection and planning
  • Understanding how individuals experience stress and trauma
    • Parts of the brain and what they do
    • Behavior is a form of communication
    • Identifying activated stress responses
    • Responding to students/children who are stressed
    • Adult well-being
    • Case examples, reflection, and planning
  • Understanding the collective conditions for health and well-being
    • Collective relationships
    • Environments and routines
    • Community of care
    • Case examples, reflection, and planning
  • Understanding the role of systems in supporting health and well-being
    • Conditions that support well-being in care/education contexts
    • Strategies for supporting well-being in care/education contexts
    • Reflection and planning


First Section

First Section

Dr. Joshua Sparrow

Joshua Sparrow, M.D., DFAACAP, is executive director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) in the Division of Development of Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he also holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical school, part time. Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation and injustice, prompted his interest in the social determinants of health, racial health inequities, trauma and historical trauma, and community-based prevention and health promotion. At BTC, Dr. Sparrow’s work focuses on organizational learning and change, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities. BTC provides professional, organizational and leadership development, community based participatory research, and developmental program evaluation for family-facing professionals in pediatrics, early childhood care and education, infant mental health, home visiting, child welfare, public libraries and children’s museums. Dr. Sparrow began working with young children at age 13 and did so every summer through most of college. After graduating from college, he taught in preschools (2 year old and 4 year old classrooms) for a few years before deciding to go to medical school.

Mx. Wendy Marroquin

Wendy Marroquin is currently a high school senior at USC Hybrid High, located in Los Angeles, California. They hope to major in Public Health or Political Science when they head to college next year. Wendy is driven by a passion for pursuing equity in the healthcare field for all stakeholders. When they’re not at school, they love to cook and support their family.

Dr. Cheryl Williams-Jackson

Dr. Cheryl Williams-Jackson is a Human Services, Child Development, and Psychology professor at Modesto Junior College. She holds a doctor of psychology degree in clinical psychology and additional degrees in educational psychology with an emphasis on child development. She has served as an early childhood mental health consultant with Alameda Family Services. In addition, she provides training sessions nationally focusing on mental health issues and cultural competency building in educational and mental health settings. Professor Williams-Jackson was a 2015-2016 Simms-Mann Fellow and researched trauma-informed care in educational settings. As a method of teaching people about trauma-informed care, she’s spent time studying how to reduce traumatic experiences in educational settings.

Ms. Lindsey Fuller

Lindsey Fuller is an unapologetic and passionate advocate for scholars and marginalized communities. Prior to joining The Teaching Well where she leads as the Executive Director, she served as a 1st and 6th grade teacher, and elementary school administrator, and District Leader in the position of Regional Director of Student Services. In that role, she supported 11 Bay Area schools and led all non-academic initiatives, including mental health programming, behavioral supports, socio-emotional learning, and crisis management.  Through her private practice, Fuller Freedom Consulting, as well as TTW she strives to sustain adults in our schools to ensure trauma-sensitive continuity of care. She is a trainer in Restorative Practices (IIRP) and is state certified as a Mediator (CCEJ). Lindsey is a native of the Oakland/Berkeley community, the child of two educators, and mother of two.

Ms. Susan Andrien

Susan Andrien LMFT, is a Phase 2 trainer in The Neurosequential Model, a neurodevelopmentally informed approach to clinical problem solving and a certified Forest Therapy practitioner. With more than 25 years of experience working with children and families heavily impacted by trauma, Susan founded Hope Reimagined, a Mental Health & Educational Support Services organization with a mission to better support communities, schools and families to be relationally rich environments informed by neurophysiology. Susan is the Co-Host of The Awakening Educator, a podcast that explores unique perspectives to the topics most relevant to people who support our youth in today’s complex world.

Dr. Pamela Cantor

Pamela Cantor, M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, author, and thought leader on human potential, the science of learning and development, and educational equity. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, she founded Turnaround for Children, which translates scientific insights into tools and services that help educators establish the conditions for all students to thrive. In two books published in 2021, Whole-Child Development, Learning and Thriving: A Dynamic Systems Approach and The Science of Learning and Development, Dr. Cantor crystallizes key scientific concepts about how human potential and learning unfold so that anyone seeking to open pathways for learning and opportunity for young people can do so. She is a featured contributor to Edutopia’s How Learning Happens series which has been viewed more than 15 million times. Dr. Cantor is a governing partner of the Science of Learning and Development Alliance, a member of the Brookings Institution’s Task Force on Next Generation Community Schools, and a Commissioner of the Learning 2025 Commission of the American Association of School Superintendents. She received an M.D. from Cornell University, a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

First section
Ms. Kadija Johnston

Kadija Johnston, LCSW, is an independent consultant and Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development contributing her expertise and experience in early childhood mental health consultation to the SAMHSA supported Center of Excellence in ECMH Consultation and the National Center of Health Behavioral Health and Safety for Head Start. Ms. Johnston is the past Director of the Infant-Parent Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she pioneered the program’s approach to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and has disseminated the approach nationally and internationally. Ms. Johnston writes and lectures nationally on infant and early childhood mental health. She co-authored the book Mental Health Consultation in Child Care: Transforming Relationships With Directors, Staff, and Families. She serves as a subject matter expert on perinatal, infant, and early childhood mental health, trauma informed and healing practices in early childhood education, reflective supervision, and equity and anti-racist practices in early childhood settings and systems.

Dr. Rachel Gilgoff

As a board-certified general pediatrician, child abuse pediatrician, and integrative medicine specialist, Dr. Gilgoff brings a multidisciplinary approach to ACEs, toxic stress, healing, and well-being. Over the course of her career, she has been a co-investigator of the Pediatric ACEs Screening and Resilience Study (PEARLS), the Medical Director of the Clinical Innovations and Research Team within Center for Youth Wellness, and co-founder of the National Committee on Asthma and Toxic Stress. She co-developed the Resiliency Clinic, a group clinic intervention model to treat toxic stress, and more recently, co-created VITAL: Relational Health, a free, on-line learning series on the science and practice of relational health.  She is currently an advisor with the California Aces Aware Initiative and the Office of the California Surgeon General, and a co-PI on “Systems-based, Multidisciplinary Assessment of Adversity and Toxic Stress for Individualized Care (The SYSTEMAATIC Project),” an ACEs and Precision Medicine research project through the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM).  Dr. Gilgoff is dedicated to addressing health issues resulting from child abuse and toxic stress, creating systems of care that incorporate the science of stress biology and wellness, and collaborating across sectors to develop multidisciplinary, integrative, human-centered, and holistic approaches to healing.

Ms. Sade Ajayi

Born and raised in Sacramento, Sade grew up being witnessed on how power and policy moved in the lives of marginalized communities. Seeing the disparities of her community and those alike, she grew passionate about liberation, inclusion and redistribution of wealth. She received her B.A in African American Studies with a minor in Public Policy from UCLA. Her previous involvements include: Million Dollar Hoods, Community Coalition, and Justice LA work group. Upon her relocation to Sacramento, she is passionate about paying it forward and working with youth communities of Sacramento. Sade currently serves as the Program Coordinator for United College Action Network’s Girls Empowerment Mentoring and Support Program (GEMS) and President’s Youth Council Member for the California Endowment. She is focused on challenging the punitive effects adultification bias has on girls of color, and actively creating mental wellness solutions. Her long term career goal is to receive her Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown Law.

Dr. Joyce Dorado

Joyce Dorado is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, UCSF-Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the Co-Founder and Director of UCSF Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS). Dr. Dorado is a nationally recognized expert in partnering with schools and other youth-serving systems to create trauma-informed, equitable, and healing organizations. She serves as an appointed member of the California State Supreme Court Justice’s statewide steering committee for the Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts initiative. She is also the Lead Curriculum Developer, a Master Trainer, and a member of the founding workgroup for the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) Trauma-Informed Systems Initiative, and provides training and consultation across the Bay Area in collaboration with Trauma Transformed: Bay Area Regional Trauma-Informed Systems Center. Additionally, she has served as a lead consultant in CLEAR California, a partnership between the Washington State University CLEAR program and UCSF HEARTS.

Mr. Ricky Robertson

Ricky Robertson (he/him) is an educator, author, and consultant who assists schools across the country in developing culturally responsive trauma-informed systems of support that foster resilience and success for staff, students, and families. Ricky has guided schools, districts, and state departments of education in learning about the impact of ACEs and trauma and the critical role of protective factors in fostering resilient schools and communities. He has assisted schools in developing and implementing trauma-informed practices that have positively impacted student behavior, academic achievement, and social-emotional development, while cultivating educator well-being and efficacy. 

Dr. Natalie Turner-Depue

Dr. Natalie Turner-Depue is a licensed mental health counselor and a nationally-certified trainer in the Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) Framework. To date, she has provided training and consultation to over 15,000 people on how complex trauma exposure can impact early childhood development, behavior, learning and socialization. For the past fourteen years, Dr. Turner-Depue has directed multiple CAFRU projects, including leading a large multi-year State of Washington evaluation of a large consortia program addressing high-risk children in schools and co-developing the Collaborative Learning for Educational Achievement and Resilience (CLEAR) model for implementing trauma-informed practices through a whole-systems approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the training cost?

It’s free!

Is the training only in English?

The training will be written in an easy-to-understand language in both English and Spanish.

Can I do the training on my phone?

Yes. The training can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.

How long does the training take?

The total training takes two hours. There are three trainings to choose from: 0- to 5-year-olds; 5- to 11-year-olds; 12- to 18-year-olds.  And good news – it’s self-paced so start and stop as you please.

How do I access the training?

Early childhood personnel will access the training via California Early Childhood Online (CECO). TK-12 school personnel can access the training via links on any organization websites that wish to host the links. The Office of the California Surgeon General website will host the training link.

Featured Resources

Brazelton Touchpoints Center

Brazelton Touchpoints Center partners with family-facing providers, researchers, advocates, policymakers, and their institutions to listen to and amplify the unheard voices of babies, children, and families, and to co-create with them practical, incremental solutions to the challenges they express.

Destiny Arts Center

Destiny Arts Center exists to inspire and ignite social change through the arts. Destiny uses movement-based arts to uplift youth voice, supporting pathways for young people to express themselves, advocate for justice and equity, fight against the systemic racism that continues to impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and build a community where everyone feels seen, valued, and free.

HEARTS: Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools

HEARTS promotes school success by collaborating with school systems to create more trauma-informed, safe, supportive, and equitable school cultures and climates that foster resilience, wellness, and racial justice for everyone in the school community.

Hope Reimagined

Hope Reimagined supports communities, schools and families to be relationally rich environments informed by neurophysiology in order to increase HOPE (Healing Opportunities and Playful Environments).

The Teaching Well

The Teaching Well is a non-profit wellness organization composed of teachers, school/district leaders, and healers building the supports for educators so they can stay healthy, connected, and, ultimately, in roles that bring about liberatory change for their communities.

Turnaround for Children

Turnaround for Children’s services are designed to leverage the science of learning and development and assist educators in applying key components of whole-child design to their unique contexts.

Spread the Word

We want to get the word out on Safe Spaces and, if you do too, we’ve made it as simple as possible to do just that. The content included in this toolkit can be used to help CA-OSG promote the training and includes a promotional video, one-pager, presentation, social media, and content for your newsletter or website.

Additional Background

UPDATE: California Surgeon General's Letter to Superintendents about Safe Spaces

California Surgeon General’s Letter to Superintendents About Safe Spaces

California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos partnered with the Association of California School Administrators to urge all California Superintendents to prioritize Safe Spaces—a new trauma-informed training for early care providers, educators and other classified staff.

Youth at the Center Report

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) released the Youth at the Center Report, highlighting what children, youth, families, and community members want in a reimagined behavioral health ecosystem.

January 2023 Progress Report

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) released a progress report highlighting the first 18 months of the initiative to transform the way California serves the mental, emotional and behavioral health needs of children, youth and families