May is Trauma Awareness Month in Delaware

First lady introduces new statewide coalition for trauma-informed care
May 9, 2019

At a kickoff event marking May as Trauma Awareness Month in Delaware, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney announced the launch of a new statewide partnership for trauma-informed care called Trauma Informed Delaware. The goal of this public-private-nonprofit coalition is to coordinate a sustainable system that advances resilience through community-based awareness, trauma prevention, and early intervention.

“Trauma-informed care is a prerequisite to any effective strength-based strategy,” said Quillen Carney. “Progress starts when a critical mass of people learn and listen, when we recognize – down to our bone marrow – that these are our children, our veterans, our neighbors, and that we are all in this building-the-future business together. Thank you to all of the people who have been leading trauma-informed work for many years, and to everyone who will be participating in Trauma Awareness Month events.”

Trauma Informed Delaware at will support streamlined requests for trainings, host collaborative convening opportunities, promote partners and events from across the state, and offer those supports and other forms of assistance through promotion and advocacy. Issues to be addressed include access to quality behavioral and integrated healthcare, strength-based services for youth and adults, and education for providers and the community.

The kickoff event was coordinated by Gov. John Carney’s Family Services Cabinet Council, which is charged with promoting Trauma Awareness Month. The council has created an online calendar to share information with state employees, community partners, and the public on educational and professional development opportunities related to adverse childhood experiences and building resilience.

“At the children’s department, we know that many of our clients come to us with a history of trauma,” said Josette Manning, secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families. “We also know that our staff, tasked with helping the most vulnerable children, also suffer trauma. Today, we all came together as a community to learn how we can become more trauma informed to better serve our children and families and how to take care of each other as we do it.”

“During the past year, more than 1,000 Department of Health and Social Services employees with the greatest level of direct client contact have been trained in a trauma-informed approach,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and a board-certified family physician. “We are building a workforce that understands what trauma is, how it affects people across their lifespans, and the most effective ways that we can assess and meet our clients’ needs. Having a trauma-informed workforce is a critical step in supporting and promoting recovery for our clients who have experienced trauma so they can build resilience and learn to thrive in their communities.”

The symposium featured breakout sessions on the neuroscience of stress, navigating trauma with boys of color, and mindfulness, and a screening of the film, “Broken Places.” Keynote speakers were Heather Forbes, LCSW, author of “Help for Billy,” who talked about understanding challenging and difficult behaviors; and Dr. Abdul-Malik Muhammad, a trauma-informed care leader in Delaware, who addressed the collective power to heal.

The event was sponsored by the Delaware State Education Association, made possible through a grant from National Education Association, and co-sponsored by Trauma Matters Delaware, Nemours, Wilmington University and Delaware State University.

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