HONESDALE – Since its inception, the Wayne County System of Care (SOC) has created a shift of philosophy in human services that strives to put the consumer and their experiences first. A key part of that effort is the introduction of Trauma Informed Care.
The Wayne County System of Care in close collaboration with families, youth, providers, and educators to develop and implement strategies to improve the child-serving systems in the county. SOC Coordinator Dave Hartung said the 23 counties that participate in the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural PA received a four-year grant to cover the cost of implementing Trauma Informed Care.
SOC sent three Human Services Agency employees to receive certification that allowed them to deliver the Lakeside Global Institute’s “Trauma 101: An Overview of Trauma Informed Care” training to others in the community. From May to November of 2019, the team trained 250 people from the local school districts, the state and federal prisons, Wayne Memorial Hospital and more.
Trauma 101 introduces the idea that most people (research shows about two-thirds) experienced some form of Adverse Childhood Experience that caused trauma, which has lasting effects on physical, mental and social wellbeing. It also focuses on shifting practices and protocols to avoid re-traumatizing individuals as they interact with the child/family system within the county.
In a nutshell, it changes the human services question from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you.” Hartung said trauma can happen at any stage in life, “We focus on childhood because the brain is still developing and forming those neurological pathways.”
Subsequent training courses focus on building basic skills in Trauma Informed Care, emphasizing the impact of vicarious and secondary trauma on caregivers, caseworkers and others who provide services to these individuals, and teaching cultural sensitivity.
Hartung said a virtual training program will be offered this fall for staff of Wayne County Human Services Agency, local care and treatment providers, parents and anyone involved in human services.
For the schools, Lakeside Global Institute offers a program called NeuroLogic, which was designed by educators for educators and includes a four-hour intensive training session that looks at brain basics, trauma and its impact on many facets of life. It also discusses Trauma Informed Care in the classroom and looks at the practical implications of working with these students. The program can also provide support to schools with web-based coaching and pre-recorded video sessions.
Thanks to unspent funds from the initial grant, Wayne County received an additional allocation in 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved training efforts into the virtual universe, and Wayne County plans to send three more people to become Trauma Informed Care Trainers: two members the HSA staff and a family member who sits on the SOC board.
BHARP received a second grant from the federal government to fund the project for an additional four years. As a Tier 1 county, Wayne receives about $50,000 a year for training, supplies, administrative costs, technology and to meet other approved and identified needs.
To learn more about the Wayne County System of Care and Trauma Informed Care, visit the SOC web page at www.WayneCountyPA.gov.