Tag Archive: TICN

  1. Equity Assessments and Disaggregated Data in Action

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    Recently, the Data and Research team at Voices for Virginia’s Children conducted community equity assessments for two Trauma-Informed Community Networks (TICNs) in Virginia. These Trauma-Informed Community Networks work to identify policies that can be implemented to advance trauma-informed policy and promote a statewide policy agenda. Voices has conducted equity assessments for the Greater Richmond area TICN and the Southwest Virginia TICN (for more information on these TICNs, contact the Greater Richmond TICN, or the Southwest Virginia TICN). The assessments created for these organizations include locality level data that describe health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families at the locality level over time using the KIDS COUNT data across domains like health, access, education, and community wealth. The data in these types of assessments not only educate the public on the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve, but also assist in helping advocates in prioritizing future areas of focus. This assessment describes trends that allow for further investigation into the “why”, and looks to attendees as the experts in their communities to understand the reasons behind the trends.

    Equity assessments are an excellent way to put data into action for communities, especially when the data can be broken down to look closely at sub-populations of children. Disaggregating data geographically, racially, by age group, and economic perspective is vital in discerning how policies can disproportionately impact different communities.

    A typical equity assessment will include both an education component as well as data. All assessments start with a grounding of why data and equity are important and then conclude with a data summary including tailored visualizations by each geography of interest. These assessments can be used for policy advocacy efforts for communities all across Virginia to facilitate policy change in a multitude of different areas related to children and their families.

    The Southwest Virginia Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN) wanted to learn more about children living below the federal poverty line in Southwest Virginia counties. We found that the regional average of children living below the poverty line was 25.8% for Southwest Virginia; However, to see the full picture of child health and well-being, we need this data to be broken down even further. Upon examination, we found that Black children, Hispanic children, and children of two or more races were overrepresented living in poverty in the majority of Southwest Virginia counties. By disaggregating this data by race/ethnicity, as well as by location, the Southwest TICN can get the best picture of what each county needs and can make informed decisions on what is best for all children living in Southwest Virginia.

    If you are interested in an equity assessment or would like to learn more, please contact Lauren Snellings or Kelsey McMahon.

  2. Help Virginia Secure Child Welfare Prevention Dollars

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    By Courtney Reece

    Amidst a global pandemic, many Virginians are facing budgetary challenges that end up high on the list of concerns. What was previously a conversation about “how much?” has become a question of “can we even afford it?”. With numerous budget amendments on the table for state legislators, we must prioritize the care and concern of our children and families through support increasing funding for the Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT). Introduced by Delegate Carr, the proposed amendment provides for an additional $2.5 million in funding per year for the next two years for FACT.

    Contact your legislators today to urge their support of this budget amendment.

    We know that prevention is important for supporting children’s well-being, not only through parental support and education but also through connecting families to supports for basic needs.  We also know the prevention work that builds stronger communities requires funding. Now is the opportunity for legislators to show their support of children, families, and all Virginia communities by supporting this budget amendment.

    Why fund FACT?

    As a fund supporting trauma-informed community networks (TICNs) and prevention efforts, FACT is key to providing the resources our communities need to improve child and family welfare. Even as supportive as current efforts may be, there are always opportunities for greater impact. With this additional funding, FACT could support more TICNs and prevention programs which are essential to creating better outcomes for children through stronger communities. Programs that ensure our communities can voice what they need most to thrive. This budget amendment also specifies that these programs should be tailored to meet the needs of communities of color, who are currently over represented in the child welfare system.

    By listening to the community and learning about their needs, we can provide the kind of prevention support that is most impactful. One nationally acclaimed prevention program, Parents as Teachers, works with parents to understand their specific needs and personalize the assistance provided. In one success story, a family found themselves having to choose between obtaining healthcare assistance for the father or maintaining food and shelter. Thanks to the help of the program, they were able to obtain the low-cost healthcare they needed and the parent in need now enjoys more time spent with his kids.

    Courtney Reece is a current MSW student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Courtney began her social work career through volunteer efforts with the Richmond YWCA and Kindred Hospice and most recently interned with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She is passionate about influencing policy change and looking to policy and prevention efforts that can disrupt systemic inequity.

  3. Mid-Session Update: Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia Unified Policy Agenda

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    The 2020 GA Session has made progress towards making Virginia a more trauma-informed state. Thanks to all of  our partners who helped create and advocate for the Campaign’s Unified Policy Agenda. Now that we have reached the halfway point of session where bills have crossed over and the House and Senate have each released their versions of the budget, we are pleased with where our priorities stand. However there is more work to do to get these items across the finish line.

    Community-Level Prevention 

    It is really hard to get elected officials to pay attention to “prevention” because they so often need to deliver immediate results. Our efforts to address community-level prevention fell short of where we wanted, but still put us on a path towards progress.

    FACT funding for community networks: The Senate included an additional $100,000 each year for FACT grants while the House has dedicated revenue to FACT from a small portion of the revenue from authorizing casinos in five communities. Neither of these proposals will get to the desired level of funding for additional community networks.

    ACEs Interface training: The Senate included reduced funding for ACEs Interface training of $285,250 per year. The House did not include funding.

    Five-year child abuse prevention plan: The House included language directing the Commissioner of Social Services to develop a comprehensive and collaborative plan to prevent exposure to trauma and abuse and neglect.

    Both the House and Senate reduced the Governor’s proposed funding for prevention services through local DSS to around $40 million in general funds across the two years of the budget from a proposed $66 million.

    Family-Based Prevention 

    Improve maternal health policies: Both the House and the Senate included the Governor’s proposals to extend health insurance to low-income mothers and some residents born outside the US. They also included language to study a Medicaid benefit for care by doulas and midwives but have slightly different timelines for next steps.

    Expand access to home visiting: Both the House and Senate included the Governor’s proposals to expand access to home visiting through Medicaid reimbursement. The Senate version reduces the first year allocation that is unnecessary before the state seeks the appropriate state plan amendment.

    Promote economic stability: As a significant improvement over the introduced budget increasing TANF payments by 5 percent, both the House and the Senate increased TANF payments, The Senate proposal is slightly stronger increasing cash assistance and eligibility levels by 20 percent. This would allow more families to be eligible for cash assistance and would increase monthly payment amounts by approximately $75 per month for two beneficiaries.

    Early Identification and Intervention

    Create statewide EC mental health consultationThe House passed HJ51 unanimously to study scaling up an early childhood consultation model across the state. The bill will now move on to the Senate Rules committee for discussion.

    Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP): Both the House and Senate included the Governor’s proposal ($4.2 million) to bring the collaboration between primary health care and mental health to scale statewide.

    School-Based Interventions

    School counselors: Both the House and Senate reduced the Governor’s budget proposal of $99 million to reduce the average school counselor ratio to 1 to every 250 students. While the House only adopted half of the Governor’s proposal, the Senate included about $60 million to fund one school counselor for every 300 students.

    Scale-Up Evidence-Based Practices

    Training to adopt evidence-based practices: Both the House and the Senate include amendments to swap funding for evidence-based services for Family First for newly available federal funds. Total funding is not impacted. However the Senate budget reduces proposed positions to provide training in the evidence-based services at DBHDS.

    Workforce Recruitment and Retention

    Child welfare caseworkers: Both the House and Senate included raises for state-employees and state-supported local employees that were not included in the Governor’s budget. These increases will impact child welfare caseworkers in addition to specific funding for local DSS employees to increase minimum salary levels and address salary compression.

    Medicaid reimbursement for mental health providers: Both budgets include the Governor’s proposal to increase Medicaid  reimbursement rates for mental health providers.

    Behavioral health loan repayment: The Senate budget includes $1.6 million each year to offset student loans for mental health clinicians working at Community Services Boards (CSB).