Trauma-Informed Care Workshop a Hit
On November 7, fourteen staff from five different organizations representing ten sites attended the Trauma-Informed Care workshop sponsored by Washington County Kids. The workshop was taught by Genevieve Ellis, Alcohol and Drug Prevention Coordinator, and Gwyn Ashcom, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, from the Washington County Department of Health and Human Services. Using a multi-media approach, they first defined trauma and then detailed how it activates stress and resulting freeze responses or negative reactions, such as impulsivity. The research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) indicates that exposure to traumatic stressors in childhood can affect adult health outcomes such as susceptibility to different diseases. The greater the number of negative experiences, the higher the likelihood of negative health effects including mental health problems and criminal activity.
Prevalence of ACEs in Oregon Kids
However, it was emphasized that exposure to ACEs is not destiny. Children are resilient and it can be nurtured. Some suggestions for using a trauma-informed lens and fostering a resilient environment were discussed.
Ask “What happened to you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?
Understand that past trauma can be triggered by experience in the present.
Take seriously a survivor’s trauma responses. Common responses include:
-Heightened emotional state (crying, yelling)
-Missed appointments or lack of follow through
-Difficulty recalling events/fragmented memory
-Numb, flat affect
Offer flexibility and choices as to how an individual can interact with a program or staff.
Integrate trauma awareness into program policies, procedures, and standard practices.
When we know someone’s intent, we treat them differently. With a trauma-informed perspective, we see the trauma survivor not as sick or bad, but as injured.
It is important for staff to take care of themselves as well.
Participants shared their experiences and perspectives. Their evaluations showed that they learned a great deal. They felt that “Presenters were approachable, knowledgeable, and passionate about the topic and the issues shared.” Ideas for future workshops included topics on restorative justice and social-emotional learning and ideas for working with toddlers and kids with special needs. If you have ideas for future workshops, please send them to WashCokidsOregon@gmail.com
Children’s Service Districts
Washington County Kids is supporting SB 543 which has been introduced in the State Senate. The bill does not cost the state any money. It allows citizens to form special districts in a democratic manner to serve the children of their community. This bill would allow citizens in a designated geographic area to collect signatures to put a measure on a ballot to form a special district. A Children’s Service District could collect property taxes to support children’s health and well-being outside of school hours for individuals 0-18 years of age. The full text of the bill is available to read. If anyone is interested in signing a group letter to support the bill, writing a separate letter of support, or giving testimony when a hearing is held, contact WashCoKidsoregon@gmail.com