Voices’ Blog

Progress Report: Trauma-informed Policies and Practice

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

The 2018 General Assembly will consider several items related to improving trauma-informed policies and practices. These proposals come after a year where Voices has studied state-level approaches to trauma-informed policy, the Commission on Youth hosted a seminar on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adopted recommendations, and we have seen continued traction at the local level, such as passage of the childhood trauma resolution in Fairfax.

Bringing policymakers’ attention to childhood trauma is important, because we know ACEs can have a long-term impact on health and well-being, but we also know they do not have to dictate a child’s life. We can put in place trauma-informed policies that focus on prevention and early intervention.

Here are some measures we will support this year:

  1. Trauma-Informed Care Workgroup: This proposal for budget language would establish an inter-agency workgroup to define trauma-informed practices, align practices across agencies, and identify unmet needs. This workgroup represents a first step at better defining trauma-informed practice and policy and aligning efforts across many children’s services. Item 281#1h (Patron: Peace) Item 281#1s (Patron: Carrico)
  2. Family and Children’s Trust Fund Grants: This request of $250,000 will provide additional grants through the Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) to support innovative practices to prevent childhood trauma at the local level. These funds will focus on prevention and early intervention, with an emphasis on interventions for families with young children. FACT is encouraged to seek additional private resources as matching funds. Item 334#2h (Patron: Peace) Item 334#2s (Patron: Carrico)
  3. Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion: Additional funds are needed to support legislative efforts to reduce suspension and expulsion in early grades. Several budget amendments were introduced to increase funding for positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) as well as the continuation of the Virginia Tiered System of Support (VTSS), targeted to Title I schools. VTSS: Item 129#4h (Peace) & Item 128#1s (Favola) PBIS: Item135#16h (Bourne) Item 135#6s (McClellan)
  4. Children’s Cabinet: We will seek support from the Northam administration to continue the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. We hope this will build on the good model established under the McAuliffe administration by reviewing child outcomes, identifying existing resources, and facilitating coordination on issues such as childhood trauma.


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