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Where The Journey Toward Healing Begins

NC Communities Work to Become Trauma-Informed

What is a community-centered, equitable, and trauma-informed community? And how does it support children impacted by trauma? Seven North Carolina counties – Cabarrus, Caldwell, Chatham, Edgecombe, New Hanover, Pitt, and Wilson – have deeply engaged with these questions via the Trauma-Informed Communities (TIC) Project.

The TIC Project began in 2018 as a collaboration between CCFH and the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities & Substance Abuse to help individual counties build awareness, center equity and community-led approaches in trauma-informed care, and develop sustainable ways to address the impact of trauma. Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE) later joined the TIC faculty team to ensure that racial equity is foundational to all things trauma-informed.

Community members, advocates, and providers from across the state gathered with national thought leaders on trauma-informed care on June 17 for the TIC Project’s final summit. The summit provided space for participants to reflect on how healing from trauma occurs in relationships and in community. Keynotes and discussions emphasized that when we center the voices of community members, systems-level change for preventing childhood trauma is possible.

The TIC Summit also emphasized that equity and intersectionality are foundational to trauma-informed care.

“As a community, we care for our children and want to make this world a better place for them,” reflects Dr. Angela Tunno, TIC Project Co-Principal Investigator. “That means being aware of the impact of trauma, how systems perpetuate trauma, how systems of oppression exist, and how to work together to learn about those things so we can begin to dismantle them – to begin the journey toward healing for all children.”

TIC Summit participants were energized by their time together, and many shared that they would take lessons back to their communities about how to prioritize their own wellness in the work, the importance of relationships, leading with community voice, and having a trauma-informed lens.

One key takeaway for participant J’vaneté Skiba of the New Hanover County Resiliency Task Force was how the TIC Project faculty modeled the practice of “turning the lens inward” to see what they were missing in the trauma-informed framework they were helping counties build. From that process of self-reflection and cultural humility, the TIC Project used a learning mindset to ensure that racial equity with an intersectional lens was foundational to its work.

“I probably think those words ‘turn the lens inward’ on a daily basis in my work,” J’vaneté says.

As the CCFH training faculty practice what they teach in real time – and with a trust-building transparency that is essential for trauma-informed communities – J’vaneté recognizes the value that CCFH can offer statewide efforts to help more communities become trauma-informed.

“For people to be able to witness that, learn from it, and access the expertise of the TIC Project team – I think it would make incredible change across the state for different organizations and coalitions, and for every family in our state over time.”

Posted on August 10, 2022