In the wake of the pandemic and today’s modern civil rights movement, we must recognize that populations who disproportionately suffer from trauma need a different approach, one that acknowledges their collective experience and further promotes equitable and just policies of change. Trauma-informed care operates at the individual-level in realizing, recognizing, responding, and resisting re-traumatization. Addressing the root cause of trauma in neighborhoods, families, and schools requires policies that consider the environmental that perpetuates the harm. Trauma-informed care in combination with equitable policies deconstructs toxic systems, policies and practices that reinforce the initial harm.
Here’s what passed in this year’s General Assembly session supporting trauma-informed care and racial truth and reconciliation:
Early Identification and Intervention
- Provide general fund support to the Virginia Helping Everyone Access Services (HEALS) program, $517,553 allotted 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.
- 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.
- 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 FY22. 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.
Systemic and Institutional Intervention
- 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.
- 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.