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What is Trauma-Informed Care?

Explaining “trauma-informed” and “healing-centered”

Trauma-informed care is based on research that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have significant and long-lasting effects on wellness and behavior. When engaging young people through a trauma-informed lens, it is possible to recognize
some behaviors as symptoms of trauma and respond appropriately to avoid deepening the trauma. Healing-centered care builds upon trauma-informed practices, understanding each youth beyond their trauma as a person with identity, culture,
community, and dreams. It is also necessary to engage youth at these levels in order to facilitate healing. The healing centered approach affirms that trauma is often not just an individual experience, but is also experienced collectively by groups of people such as neighborhoods, schools, or other communities. Some communities experience collective trauma disproportionately. In order to address this type of trauma, it is necessary to identify systems, policies, and practices that cause collective trauma.


What does it mean to implement healing-centered care?

In many ways, healing-centered care is reinforcement of the services that Valley Youth House has provided for many years. The Positive Youth Development model emphasizes building upon youth strengths, centering their voice, and bolstering their community connections. Healing-centered care simply broadens the scope of how to work with clients, each other, and community partners. In healing-centered care, a young person’s culture and identity are key to wellness. This includes not only ensuring that a young person’s culture and identity is recognized and respected, but also that they have opportunities to connect with it, learn about it, and engage with others that share their culture and identity.

As a part of implementing healing-centered care, it is crucial to consider how we extend the same care and understanding to each other that we offer to clients. Many staff are processing past traumas and working toward their own healing and wellness. Efforts to implement healing-centered programs will be supported through a quality improvement process using staff and client feedback along with assessments to measure the success and sustainability of healing-centered interventions, policies, and procedures.