From Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon
Across the State
It has been quite the winter here in Portland and around Oregon with snow, rain, floods, some more rain, and a few rare sun breaks. In January, the Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO) staff took a day to reflect on what’s been accomplished and began discussing where we would like to direct our efforts. The ideas and needs you express to us when we visit your communities is what influences these decisions. I am excited to go on the road in April to visit Malheur County, Grant County, and Benton County (see our events page) to share information and learn about Trauma Informed Care happenings and challenges. After these trips, we’ll have had the pleasure of visiting 22 counties in Oregon so thank you for inviting us! In the May newsletter I will provide a review of accomplishments and suggested next steps for your review.
As many of you know, striving for a trauma informed environment means we have to review our policies noting how they either support Trauma Informed Care efforts or create barriers. One of my favorite questions when reviewing policies is to ask, “What organizational polices do we have that may prevent another organization from being trauma informed?” Policies, often influenced by legislation, can state how much service we provide, who we can provide it to, how much it costs, what knowledge and skills a provider must have, and even what type of data we have access to. Since Oregon is in its legislative session and there are bills proposed related to our work we wanted to focus this newsletter on legislation.
I think it is important for those of us doing this work to be available, if possible, to inform policy makers about the importance of Trauma Informed Care, to support system changes that promote wellness in families and in communities. As a way to stay informed, we have asked a few partners to share what proposed bills they’re interested in.
I am inspired that Trauma Informed Care and related topics are included in proposed bills and being discussed in committee hearings. I was excited to participate in an informational session about Trauma Informed Care requested by the House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports. I was asked to speak about what is Trauma Informed Care, why it is important, and what is going on in Oregon. This was my first time in this venue and I was able to do it in 18 minutes! After hearing my overview, representatives heard from Claire Ranit, contracted with the Columbia Gorge Health Council as the MARC Grant Project Director; Molly Rogers, Director of Youth Services at Wasco County; Rene Brandon, Director of Southern Oregon Early Learning Hub, Rogue Workforce Partnership; and Oregon Health Authority staff. I so appreciated the committee’s interest and enjoyed sharing the great work happening in Oregon.
Keeping Up to Date
I’m enjoying learning more about our legislative process here in Oregon (though it is making me wish I had paid a bit more attention in civics class). Because legislation directly impacts our Trauma Informed Care work, I am trying to stay informed by watching hearings online, reading bills, and providing information as requested. In our New Tools section of the newsletter, we have provided some links we’ve found useful.
FYI, on the national level, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Danny Davis have proposed the Trauma Informed Care for Children and Families Act. Read more . . .