RD245 - Report of the Trauma Informed Care Working Group – December 15, 2020

Executive Summary:

This past year, the COVID-19 Pandemic altered the Trauma-Informed Care Working Group’s ability to convene around the high level priorities of children’s health and wellbeing. However, the timely start of Virginia’s participation in a learning collaborative with the National Governors Association (NGA) to prevent and mitigate trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) allowed the Trauma-Informed Leadership Team (TILT), the subgroup of state agency representatives from the full working group, to respond. The TILT convened for three meetings throughout June and July 2020 to discuss and prioritize a cross-systems response to the social and emotional impact of COVID-19 on children, youth, and families in Virginia, as well as the challenges faced by agencies and programs to meet the considerable needs of communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic.

In an effort to ensure a trauma-informed COVID-response that supported the many social-emotional and physical needs of children and youth, as well as frontline service providers, the Trauma Informed Leadership Team worked to:

(a) examine Virginia’s child and family-serving programs and data, specifically around the impact on these agencies and programs’ ability to address COVID-related trauma;

(b) identify trauma-responsive best practices to assist children, youth and families, especially those who seek services and are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic;

(c) sustain current or implement new opportunities to collaborate around trauma-responsive, cross-systems programs and efforts at agencies such as Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Education (DOE), Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

These goals aligned closely with the workgroup’s charge while exploring opportunities to expand trauma-informed care throughout the Commonwealth. Preventing and Mitigating Adverse Childhood Experiences Related to COVID-19: Considerations for the Children’s Cabinet1, a memo coauthored by the National Governors Association and the TILT, outlines Virginia’s efforts to maintain and expand trauma-informed practices and provide an effective, cross-systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate its impact on children, youth, and families, and the many workforces that support them.