Voices’ Blog

2021 Legislative Session: Trauma-Informed & Equity-Informed Policy Solutions (Update 3/3/2021)

Posted:  -  By: Chlo'e Edwards

During the 2020 General Assembly Session, a number of incremental policy steps were taken to advance trauma-informed policy. In the wake of the pandemic, Virginia must recognize the need for trauma-informed and equity-informed policy to promote justice. COVID-19 has worsened already existing inequities that impact public health, such as family economic security, food and nutrition access, implicit biases in the healthcare system, and more.

Racial Trauma refers to the race-based traumatic stress and the stressful impact or emotional pain of one’s experience with racism and discrimination. Privilege reproduces the pandemic as a trauma in tandem with the racial, cultural, and historical traumas of BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) communities. An indicator from our KIDS COUNT Data Center highlights, Virginia’s children of color represent 47 percent of the kids across the Commonwealth. Children of color grow up to be adults. Systemic oppression and injustices negatively impact their ability to be resilient.

Our policy solutions present multi-disciplinary responses to address the root cause of trauma that is further perpetuated within systems.

  • Create systemic interventions that address the root cause of trauma. 
  • Ensure Virginia’s public entities prioritize the needs of children.
  • Connect parents to supports that foster resiliency and positive health outcomes.   
  • Ease the impact of trauma and victimization that children and families experience.  
  • Promote financial stability and resilience for families through community-level supports.  
  • Address unintended consequences and biases that can lead to additional trauma for children. 

View our full 2021 policy agenda.

Informed Perspective

Campaign for a Trauma-Informed VA: Racial Truth & Reconciliation Equity Statement

This is the inaugural year of Voices equity impact statements. These briefs analyze disaggregated data to get at the heart of the true policy solution and the impact of that. Here you will find data and talking points to communicate the impact of the policy solution. View the statement here.

Bills We Support

Please check this page regularly for frequent updates on bill status and new bills.

  • Declaring racism a public health crisis | HJ537 | Delegate Aird | A resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis in Virginia. It includes numerous steps that Virginia can take to address systemic racism and its impact on public health, including the examination of racial inequity in Virginia law, implicit bias training for public employees and officials, a glossary of terms specific to racism and health equity and engagement with communities most impacted.  
    • Update: This bill has passed and awaits the Governor’s signature! 
  • Directs the state Health Commissioner to establish a Task Force on Maternal Health Data and Quality Measures | HB2111| Delegate Herring| The purpose of the Task Force is to examine maternal health data collection processes and establish policies to improve maternal care, quality, and outcomes. The Task Force would report its findings and conclusions to the Governor and General Assembly by December 1 of each year and will conclude its work by December 1, 2023.
    • Update: This bill was included in the budget and has passed and awaits the Governor’s signature!
  • Creating a Crisis Call Center & Hotline | SB1302 | Senator Jeremy McPike| A key factor in creating the MARCUS Alert system to deescalate law enforcement responses to situations involving a mental health crisis is also to create systems that enable easy and effective notification and response to mental health crisis. A missing element of that system has been a hotline or crisis call center for professionals to use when encountering a child, youth or adult in mental health crisis.
    • Update: This bill passed and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Budget Items

The following are items included in the Final Proposed Budget that awaits the Governor’s signature: 

  • Provide general fund support to the Virginia Helping Everyone Access Services (HEALS) program| $517,553 in FY22 | Provides general fund support to the Virginia Helping Everyone Access Services (HEALS) program, which concentrates its efforts on early identification and intervention to lessen the impact of trauma in children, including COVID-19 related challenges.
  • Restores funding for ACEs Interface Training| $143,260 for FY22| Restores general funds the second year to expand the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) initiative. It supports a full-time Central Office position to provide oversight over 100 ACE Interface Master Trainers across the state.
  • Convene a workgroup for Medicaid home visiting | language only|The Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) will convene a workgroup and make recommendations on a Medicaid home-visiting benefit to support members’ health, access to care and health equity by December 1, 2021.
  • Increase access to doula care for pregnant women | $2.4 million for FY22| Provides increased access to doula care for pregnant women. Doulas have been shown to have a demonstrated impact to reduce racial disparities in maternal health.  
  • Funding to increase access to substance abuse treatment | $38,564 for FY 22 | Funding  allows members enrolled in FAMIS MOMS to access to treatment in an Institution for Mental Diseases under the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTs) waiver. 

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