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The Faces of Trauma-Informed Change

Stories from CCFH’s transformative partnerships at home and across the state

From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCFH’s first priority has been to maintain our connection with children and families in our care. We could not have imagined in March 2020 the full extent of the disruption and crisis that lay ahead, but we knew what losing touch even for a few weeks or months might mean for children in treatment for traumatic stress or families with young children who were already coping with multiples stressors. Both our frontline staff and those who play critical roles behind the scenes have worked hard over the last year to sustain our services through telehealth and other virtual means. As a result, CCFH has not furloughed or discontinued any of our clinical or community-based programs.

Equally important, though, has been staying engaged with agencies and systems throughout the state that look to CCFH for our expertise in evidence-based approaches to responding to childhood trauma. Like CCFH, many of them knew early on that the effects of the pandemic on children and families would require an even greater investment in trauma-informed practice. And what they would come to learn was how much support their workforces would need as the crisis persisted, not just in meeting the needs of children but also in tending to their own mental and emotional well-being.

In 2020, CCFH trained more than 3,600 professionals in social services, mental health, education, juvenile justice, and other fields. Below are stories of our work with a few of these partners and the transformative impact it is having here in Durham and across North Carolina.

There are 2.3 million children in North Carolina, and we know from decades of research that a quarter of them, conservatively, have significant exposure to traumatic experiences. Only a fraction of those children will be seen by the child welfare agencies in their community, so it is critical that everyone involved in meeting the needs of children have some capacity to recognize and respond to childhood trauma. This is not something one agency or system can accomplish on its own.

It is important to note that CCFH is not leading the transformative trauma-informed work represented in the stories above. We are responding to the initiative and the needs brought to us by communities who have decided for themselves that childhood trauma is essential to address. As they craft their own local solutions, CCFH is ensuring that they stay grounded in reliable, evidenced-based principles and practices. And because we are so closely involved with so many diverse trauma-informed efforts across the state, we help individual projects maintain their momentum and motivation by connecting them to each other. Joining the thousands of professionals CCFH trains each year, those individuals and communities are transforming North Carolina into a state where every child can be loved, nurtured, and safe.

Posted on May 18, 2021