Voices’ Blog

Changing the Lens- Trauma-informed Approaches in State Policy

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

Research shows that chronic, severe stressors in childhood can cause biological responses that are toxic and traumatic to the developing brain and can have long-term consequences for health and wellness. But science also tells us that responsive relationships and strong communities can buffer the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), allowing children to develop to their potential and contribute to their communities.

Local and regional Trauma-informed Community Networks (TICNs) have embraced these approaches by providing training to practitioners and educators on how to reframe the conversation when working with children that have experienced toxic stress and trauma. They have even partnered with courts and local law enforcement to develop more trauma-informed approaches.

We hope that state policy makers will begin paying more attention to these concepts and can better support the work of the local and regional TICNs. Voices is partnering with representatives from TICNs in Fairfax, Charlottesville, Greater Hampton Roads, Greater Piedmont, Greater Richmond, and Petersburg.

Members from these networks will join together at the General Assembly on Monday, January 30th for a Trauma-informed Advocacy Day.

We are encouraging legislators to support two bi-partisan resolutions affirming and commending trauma-informed best practices.

HJ652 (Carr/Peace) & SJ263 (Hanger/Howell)- Encouraging the Governor and Agencies to Recognize Trauma-informed Best Practices

UPDATE: This resolution was tabled in the Rules committee along with a dozen or so measures that similarly “affirmed” practices. 

SR101 (Hanger/Howell) & HJ653 (Carr/Peace)- Commending Trauma-informed Regional Networks

UPDATE: These joint resolutions passed the House and Senate and were signed by the Governor! 

We are also looking forward to a continued focus on ACEs and Trauma-informed approaches by the Commission on Youth in the coming year. And we were pleased that the US Department of Health and Human Services just released a Tool-kit for Trauma-informed Human Services.



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