information for transformational people

Scales 3 246Policy recommendations re Adverse Childhood Experiences - 3


In my previous blog, we looked at ACE-Aware policies that have been enacted in USA and Canada since 2014 and the first main policy consideration; Building knowledge and expertise of trauma-informed best practice. 

In this blog, I look at the second of four main policy considerations:

  • Building knowledge and expertise of trauma-informed best practice
  • Building capability and capacity in services and communities for trauma-informed best practice
  • Collecting evidence of the extent of adverse childhood experiences
  • Innovating new models


Let's look at the strands in the second of these:

2. Building capability and capacity in services and communities for trauma-informed best practice

Strand A: Amending current legislation and curricula to include trauma-informed best practice

Major sub-strands:

  • Review current legislation and include statutory requirement for health, education, justice, social service providers to be trauma informed.
  • Review curricula for professional training qualifications and continuous professional training, and ensure training on adverse childhood experiences and trauma is included as foundational and mandatory.
  • Establish guidelines for academic study and community practice related to trauma, its impact on mental and behavioural health outcomes, and appropriate interventions, which may include best practices within degree level training and certification of healthcare professionals.


Strand B: Disseminating best practices for those who work with children.
Providing tools and funding for training for teachers, doctors, social service providers and first responders to help children who have experienced trauma.

Major sub-strands:

  • Create, with partners as appropriate, training programs, guides and tools for identified best practice. Create websites for schools and parents with information on trauma-informed approaches.
  • Training for parents, collaborative partners, and mental health providers on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and trauma. Development of websites to share information and strategies to promote resilience and prevent trauma.
  • Develop or adopt trauma-informed care training for employees who work directly with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities in living centres and intermediate care facilities.
  • Review funding programs for professional training and ensure trauma modules are funded.


Strand C: Supporting workforce development.
Expanding clinicians who serve in high-need communities; developing training guidelines for non-clinical providers in trauma care.

Major sub-strands:

  • Make grants to areas where there are population groups that have experienced high levels of trauma and where there is a shortage of healthcare professionals.
  • Establish guidelines with respect to the training and certification of community figures, including community mentors, peers with lived experiences, and faith-based leaders, to build awareness of trauma and promote linkages to community services, provide case management services, and conduct appropriate trauma-informed screening for individuals who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing trauma.


Strand D: Fostering community co-ordination.
Creating a grant program to bring together stakeholders to raise awareness, identify needs, collect data, and target efforts.

Major sub-strand:

  • Make grants to community groups to provide training to stakeholders re the best practices and/or help to establish local needs and actions to reduce adverse childhood experiences and address needs of those with trauma.


Strand E: Creating trauma-informed law enforcement.
Creating a law enforcement centre that will share information, improve awareness, and enhance training on trauma’s impact as it relates to law enforcement agencies in interacting with children and youth who have been exposed to violence or other trauma, and their families as appropriate.

Major sub-strands:

  • Disseminating information to law enforcement officers on best practices based on evidence-based and evidence-informed models, such as trauma-informed approaches to conflict resolution, de-escalation, and crisis intervention training, early interventions that link child and youth witnesses and victims, and their families as appropriate, to appropriate trauma-informed services and supporting officers who experience secondary trauma;
  • Providing professional training and technical assistance in implementing the best practices.
  • Awarding grants to provide training to law enforcement officers re the best practices and/or helping to establish, operate, and evaluate a referral and partnership program with trauma-informed clinical mental health, substance use, health care, or social service professionals in the community in which the law enforcement agency serves.


Strand F: Home visiting.
Universal, voluntary service for families to promote child-wellbeing and prevent adverse childhood experiences.

Major sub-strand:

  • Creating a home visiting service which delivers a variety of informational, educational, developmental, referral and other support services for families who are expecting or who have children who have not yet entered kindergarten and that is designed to promote child well-being and prevent adverse childhood experiences. Promotes parental competence and successful early childhood health and development by building long-term relationships with families and optimizing the relationships between parents and children in their home environments.

Note that policy is not just about state agencies/actors but parents and communities as well. If we just focus on public services to try to reduce ACEs after they have been experienced then that does not address the root causes. We need to focus a lot of effort/encouragement on parents and communities.

In my next blog, I will look at the last 2 main policy considerations.


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Geoff Knott, 15/01/2020

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