Early life adversity (ELA) has been linked with increased arousal responses to threat, including increased amygdala reactivity. Effects of ELA on brain function are well recognized, and emerging evidence suggests that caregivers may influence how environmental stressors impact children’s brain function. We investigated the hypothesis that positive interaction between mother and child can buffer against ELA effects on children’s neural responses to threat, and related symptoms. N = 53 mother–child pairs (children ages 8–14 years) were recruited from an urban population at high risk for violence exposure. Maternal caregiving was measured using the Parenting Questionnaire and in a cooperation challenge task. Children viewed fearful and neutral face stimuli during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Children who experienced greater violence at home showed amygdala sensitization, whereas children experiencing more school and community violence showed amygdala habituation. Sensitization was in turn linked with externalizing symptoms. However, maternal warmth was associated with a normalization of amygdala sensitization in children, and fewer externalizing behaviors prospectively up to 1 year later. Findings suggested that the effects of violence exposure on threat-related neural circuitry depend on trauma context (inside or outside the home) and that primary caregivers can increase resilience.