March 21, 2016

From Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD, Co-Director, Trauma Informed Oregon

A part of my job that I get excited about the most is talking about Trauma Informed Care (TIC) with folks who use and work in a variety of systems. In the past few months I have worked with medical providers, medical assistants, safety-net providers, school personnel, quality assurance staff, and administration to provide foundational knowledge and implement the application of TIC standards in these different settings.

I am excited about the energy in the education system to implement trauma informed practices in schools. I have always been aware of the important role schools have in preventing adversity as well as intervening to promote healing, recovery, and protective factors for children, youth, families, and communities. But now that I have a kindergartner and a second grader, I see every day the support schools provide in terms of food, shelter, guidance, health services, education, and social/emotional development. I have been able to share information about TIC with a few education service districts recently and in turn I am learning about the challenges and strengths in the work of educating and caring for students.

As you read from Jen Smith’s blog, we are trying to do our part at the School of Social Work by providing presentations for students, faculty, and staff, finding ways to incorporate the material across the curriculum, and hosting internships. In addition to the 22 students from this summer, there were 29 students this fall who successfully completed a course about the impact of trauma and 22 who are signed up for this Spring.

Many of the themes we hear about from the education systems include how to respond to a tragedy in a trauma informed way, addressing behaviors in a TIC way, creating spaces that promote safety, addressing the intersection of equity and TIC, focusing policies and the work on the entire family, and most of all, organizational strategies to promote workforce wellness.

With the passage of House Bill 4002 and the efforts happening around the state there is a lot of energy and interest in providing trauma–sensitive schools.  We know many of you have been implementing TIC long before it was called TIC and others of you have jumped in with innovative ideas. We hope to continue to learn from you and connect with your efforts so if you are doing TIC work in schools and would like to share your experiences please contact us. We would love to hear from you.