Trauma-Informed Care Coming to PbS

Posted by Kim Godfrey
November 11, 2013

My eyes were first opened to the need for juvenile justice programs to incorporate trauma-informed care philosophy and practices by Vincent Felitti, MD, co-principal investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. His presentation left no doubt in my mind that childhood maltreatment impacts later-life health and convinced me with his data that the more negative experiences a child has, the more likely he or she will have multiple later-life ills and issues such as substance abuse, alcoholism, high-risk behaviors, disease and death.

The presentation was brought to the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators’ (CJCA) meeting in January 2011 by former Maine Associate Commissioner Barry Stoodley, who early on recognized trauma-informed approaches would benefit not only the youths in his facilities but also the staff, families and communities involved. Shortly afterward, Maine applied for and was awarded a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand the THRIVE trauma-informed approach to service delivery for children’s mental health services in Maine to include the youths, staff and families of the juvenile facilities. As part of that grant, Maine invited the Performance-based Standards (PbS) program to collaborate and create supplemental surveys for youths, staff and families that will measure the level of understanding, sensitivity, training and impact of trauma-informed systems of care.

PbS, the PbS Maine Team and THRIVE have set our sights on pilot testing the new trauma-informed care surveys in 2014. By incorporating the THRIVE elements into the existing PbS process, Maine will be able to continually measure and monitor how trauma-informed care is being implemented in its facilities and sustain its approach. The new PbS surveys will be available for all participants soon after the pilot testing as we’re ready to launch another field-driven, meaningful, current and cutting-edge component to PbS. I am grateful for the introduction provided by the PbS Maine Team, THRIVE’s invitation to partner and excited by the contribution our joint effort will make to all of PbS and juvenile justice by focusing on trauma-informed care in juvenile facilities’ operations.