Lakeside has had the privilege to provide training to many counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We have trained hundreds of professionals who deal with trauma-impacted individuals on a daily basis. Throughout the trauma summits we provide various opportunities for these professionals to provide feedback as to how their systems of care could be improved and to even develop a trauma-informed wish list for their organization or county.
There are usually a number of really compelling suggestions such as more mental health services, low income housing, centralization of social work services, child care availability and other practical options for children and families in need. It is clear that these professionals are “boots on the ground” with their clients and have a sincere commitment for their health and well-being.
The most consistent plea is for training for the leadership of their organizations and systems. They feel that their local politicians, their organization heads and other country officials need to have at least a basic understanding of the value of creating systems that are trauma-informed. Once one realizes that trauma is at the core of so many of our social problems it does shape the structure and quality of what we offer to our children and families in our schools and other community services needed for their daily essentials and capacity to grow.
It is a challenge to be a leader within our institutions and systems of care. However, understanding the needs of our communities from a trauma-informed perspective definitely has a significant impact on how we as leaders allocate funding, provide services and make the environments for staff and clients to be relevant, equipped and appealing. Also, a top-down perspective allows all the staff to have tremendous freedom to dream, plan and find ways to deal with the complexity and pervasiveness of trauma. A benefit to having trauma-informed leadership is that there is an understanding of the value of consistent training for staff and delivery of trauma-informed services and benefits.
I think the vision of trauma-informed care has become a driving force by our professional human care community. They need the continual support of their leadership who will listen, administrate and support their organization, practices, policies and service delivery to be effective in meeting the needs of our children and families. We need those who are in the position to make key decisions in our systems of care to make those decisions with trauma-informed care as an outcome for all those we serve.