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Lancaster County Trauma-Informed Initiative

The Lancaster County community has a long history of working together to address childhood maltreatment and trauma people have experienced. Before and after, Lancaster General Health brought Dr. Robert Anda to the community in 1998 there have been individuals and organizations working to advance trauma informed practices from all sectors of the community. In 2017, Let’s Talk Lancaster funded Trauma 101 community trainings to begin to accelerate the movement and raise awareness related to the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences.

The first community wide mobilization meeting was held on November 9, 2018 and forty-nine members from various sectors of the community participated in developing opportunities for advancing the work of creating a trauma informed Lancaster County.

Goals: Lancaster County will become a trauma-informed community that reduces and addresses adverse childhood experiences.

  • Provide training and education to increase awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences and their impact on health and well-being.
  • Develop a guide for community sectors to assess, implement, and sustain trauma-informed policies and practice.
  • Increase the number of behavioral clinicians trained in evidence-based trauma treatment interventions.

Free course on understanding trauma, resilience and trauma-informed care.
Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Define trauma and describe how traumatic experiences can affect individuals throughout their life.
  2. Describe how trauma relates to addiction, mental health, risk-taking behaviors and cycles of violence and abuse.
  3. Compare factors for risk and resilience that can result in different individual responses to traumatic events.
  4. Recognize ways in which community agencies and organizations may re-traumatize those they intend to serve.
  5. Identify potential causes and indicators of vicarious or secondary trauma among staff.
  6. Review self-care practices for professionals working with traumatized people.
  7. Recommend improvements to policies and procedures to make them trauma-informed.

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Training and education about trauma, resilience and trauma-informed care should be conducted throughout all levels of an organization’s staff, with varied levels of intensity and content based on an individual’s role or job description.

For all levels of staff, training should include information about definitions and types of trauma, its prevalence, health, mental health, social and relationship consequences of trauma and adversity, understanding trauma reactions, and why trauma is “everybody’s business”.

For staff who may connect with people affected by trauma, training should include all level 1 material plus additional training on types of abuse, neglect and adversity, trauma reactions and adaptations, the impact of trauma on stress management and tolerance, ways of coping, interpersonal functioning and relationships, information on trauma-informed practice and services, recognizing and responding to adversity risk and harm, hearing about abuse and trauma, recognizing and responding to individual needs.

For staff who will be providing support or interventions to those affected by trauma, both previous levels of training should be provided, along with information about the impact of trauma on child developmental and attachment, mental health diagnoses and trauma, indicators of and risk for trauma exposure, principles and practices of trauma-informed approaches, trauma-informed relationships with clients and colleagues, minimizing re-traumatization linked with service systems, risk factors and risk assessments related to various types of trauma, trauma-informed risk assessment and management, responding to disclosures of trauma, including legal responsibilities related to disclosure, working with interpersonal difficulties related to trauma, assessing and delivering interventions for people with trauma-related difficulties, and models and supports for recovery and connection.

For staff who will provide clinical interventions for those affected by trauma, relevant training should be provided in evidence-based interventions appropriate to their industry sector, organization, and the population they serve. For a brief overview of evidence-based treatments for trauma, see this brief from the Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health.

Additional information on evidence-based interventions for trauma in various sectors and for various populations can be found at the following websites: