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The Family and Children’s Trust Fund Supports Trauma-Informed Communities Across Virginia

Posted:  -  By: Chloe Edwards

The Family and Children’s Trust Fund Supports Trauma-informed Communities Across Virginia

 FACT is the only organization in Virginia that addresses trauma across the lifespan. The General Assembly created FACT, a public-private partnership, in 1986 to raise funds for the prevention and treatment of family violence. These efforts include child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. “Trauma-informed care provides a framework for connecting all the different points in the prevention spectrum,” says Nicole Poulin, Executive Director of FACT. The Virginia Department of Social Services supports FACT’s administrative costs, allowing 100% of FACT funds to directly support programs.

 “Trauma-informed care provides a framework for connecting all the different points in the prevention spectrum,” says Nicole Poulin, Executive Director of FACT.

FACT is governed by a Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor to promote public awareness, treatment and prevention of family violence issues. In April 2018, FACT announced $316,712 in grants to ten organizations. In July, 2018, FACT’s ten grantees started their trauma-informed projects, which include innovative initiatives such as intervention programs, collaborative screening tools and system wide trauma-informed community networks.

Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN)is the supporting organization for the Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Community Network (GRTICN), a diverse group of professionals in the Greater Richmond area who advocate for continuous trauma-informed care for all children, families and professionals. The TICN is funded by FACT and has blossomed into a network of nearly 350 members and more than 140 organizations. The Greater Richmond TICN now offers support and consulting to help other TICNs emerge, acting as a leader in championing trauma-informed communities in Virginia.

“We’re moving out of silos, and now we are all aware of what is happening,” says Melissa McGinn, with Greater Richmond SCAN’s Greater Richmond TICN, “We have folks from hospitals, private pediatric clinics, yoga studios, managed care organizations and more.” What is impacting about the forming of coalitions is the ability to unify best practices and messaging around trauma-informed communities and care. Echoing these sentiments is Greater Richmond SCAN’s Executive Director, Jeanine Harper, “It’s about where are the intersections and how can we enlighten everyone as a whole.”

“It’s about where are the intersections and how can we enlighten everyone as a whole.”

However, how can trauma-informed practices translate to state level policy? Voices for Virginia’s Children’s mission is to champion public policies that improve the lives of Virginia’s children. Promoting resilience and preventing childhood trauma is a part of Voices’ vision behind the Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia. There are over fifteen emerging and developed TICNs across the state. Voices goal is to work with coalitions and partners to identify promising practices at the local/regional level that can then transcend to the state level. Virginia’s community networks play a key role in advancing trauma-informed policy and promoting a statewide policy agenda.

“We really think it’s important for Voices and others who are knee deep in the policy piece to keep conversations around trauma going to mobilize people,” says Jeanine Harper, Executive Director of Greater Richmond SCAN. With the support of FACT funding, the Greater Richmond TICN is able to host a state TICN meeting to, mobilize conversations and identify trauma-informed initiatives. This is what Voices’ Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia is all about. “There’s a lot of trauma work already happening in the community. It is just a matter of bringing everyone together,” says Northern Virginia SCAN’s Allyson Halverson, who is taking the lead with the developing Loudon County TICN and Prince William TICN.

“We really think it’s important for Voices and others who are knee deep in the policy piece to keep conversations around trauma going to mobilize people,” says Jeanine Harper, Executive Director of GRSCAN.

The most exciting thing about everyone coming together is the unification of efforts that impact all sectors. Greater Richmond TICNs state meetings bring together a multidisciplinary coalition of professionals raising awareness around trauma, engaging in practices, and then going back to their communities with new ideas for implementation. “Once I stopped worrying about other people coming to my table, and I started going to other people’s tables, I was able to start coordinating efforts in my community,” said Haven Shelter’s Chad Lewis.

“Once I stopped worrying about other people coming to my table, and I started going to other people’s tables, I was able to start coordinating efforts in my community,” said Haven Shelter’s Chad Lewis.

When professionals from different fields come together as one and apply a trauma-informed practice lens, the impact of a child’s overall well-being is huge! The state meeting is a reminder that people like making connections, but with the support of FACT, the Greater Richmond TICN is able to work as an umbrella to unify trauma-informed community networks across the state of Virginia in order to support emerging and existing work.

Voices is able to strategically advance efforts to create a trauma-informed community by applying a policy and practice lens to already existing work. Through the Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia, we strive to create a unified trauma-informed agenda that addresses the need for further support at the state level. If you are practicing trauma-informed approaches in your community, contact us today!

Policy Recommendations

  • Family and Children’s Trust Fund Grants:The Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) currently provides financial resources for local community networks and organizations to adopt trauma informed approaches. We need to increase resources to fund opportunities for local innovation in more communities across Virginia.

We are thankful for Greater Richmond SCAN and other TICN leaders for pioneering trauma-informed work through their networks. In January 2018, Voices advocated for FACT funding. Voices will continue to advocate for the funding of backbone organizations to further support local and regional trauma-informed community networks across the state.

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