How Toxic Stress Impacts Children

Toxic Stress
Toxic Stress

Combating the Effects of Toxic Stress

Childhood- it conjures up images of playing and laughing, eyes bright with the excitement of learning. For children living in poverty, however, this image could not be more different. Poverty is not just about a lack of money.It is about constant uncertainty, a lack of structure and most of all, stress that can have a toxic effect on development.

This toxic stress affects children’s behavior as well as their cognitive growth. Research shows that prolonged exposure to toxic levels of stress negatively impacts the physical formation of a child’s rapidly developing brain. At SouthSide, four in five families have incomes below the Federal Poverty Level. They struggle with issues like unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness, incarceration, mental illness and social isolation. Toxic stress impacts the entire family.

SouthSide addresses the effects of toxic stress using a holistic approach.Our research-based curriculum focuses on the educational, social and emotional needs of each child. An extensive on-site network of early intervention specialists works with children exhibiting developmental delays. A Mental Health Coordinator provides bilingual play therapy for children who experience trauma. Families gain the skills and resources they need to create a stable, positive home through our comprehensive Family Partnership Program.

Poverty creates tremendous stress on families, impacting children’s health and development. SouthSide tackles this stress head-on so that our kids have the chance to experience a happy childhood and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.