September 20, 2019

Compiled by Michelle Homer-Anderson

Southern Oregon has been working to embed trauma-informed practices across many different sectors in the community. Working to help parents understand trauma and its impacts on their family’s lives has been a focus for many agencies. Here are a few things they are doing to accomplish this.

School Districts in Josephine County

Given the research behind adversity and its impact on a developing child, parents are a critical partner in creating the environment for their children. Through a parent survey both the Grants Pass and Three Rivers School Districts, located in Josephine County in Southern Oregon, identified the value of focusing support on parents this year.

Both districts have been offering monthly parent nights where participants gain an understanding about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impacts. As the parent ACES nights progressed, there were requests to learn more. The districts are expanding this by partnering with their Parent Teacher Associations and Parent Advisory Councils to create parent cafes and learning sessions for this program year. Working together can help families in the areas where they are needing support.

The Family Connection; Southern Oregon’s Parenting Education Hub

The Family Connection provides evidence-based parenting education curriculum to families in Jackson and Josephine Counties and is the parent education hub for the region. They worked with Providence to fund the series of Building Resilient Families classes. They recruit parents to the classes through relationships with health care folks like Southern Oregon Pediatrics, and through marketing the classes on their website and elsewhere. They also enroll parents who are taking education classes as part of a Family Court or Drug Court agreement. They began partnering with Southern Oregon Success and the ACE Interface Master Trainers who provide a NEAR (neuroscience, epigenetics, ACES, resiliency) training to tee up the parenting education curriculum. They found that in situations where the NEAR training was provided they saw higher attendance at the full series and an increase in the numbers of parents who graduated the program (sometimes these were 12 session series which can be a large time commitment for families).

On the South Coast

A cohort of folks have been trained to be co-facilitators of Parent Cafes, by ACE Interface. These are specifically structured exercises designed to promote dialogue between participants guided by a prompt or guiding question. Typically they are organized around specific content areas. There was enough funding for 10 sessions but they were so successful that five more occurred organically (spontaneously if you will), with no additional funding.

One notable example was a Family Café in Brookings organized around the topic of “grandparents raising grandchildren.” There was a bit of content provided as the introduction and it was followed by a facilitated dialogue. Childcare along with a meal was provided. It went so well that a few of the participants subsequently met at a local coffee shop and organized their own follow-up. A local child psychologist became aware of the café and offered to be with the children and talked with them about their experiences being raised by their grandparents. The group is planning more follow-up meetings.

These examples are just a few of the amazing things being done at the southern end of the state. Hopefully this information will provide you with a starting point for your own trauma-informed work.