On September 26, thanks to grant funding from Loudoun Non-Profit grants, the first Trauma-Informed Community Network (TICN) meeting was called to order at HealthWorks for Northern Virginia in Loudoun County and facilitated by SCAN. The Loudoun community has been making great strides in integrating trauma-informed care in the community and SCAN is excited to help steward collaboration between organizations and expand trauma awareness work in Loudoun. As the Loudoun TICN continues to move forward in a shared commitment towards the creation of a more trauma-informed and resilient community, there is something for everyone to contribute to and gain from the network.
At the inaugural meeting, the group dove right in and collaborated on a series of impactful opportunities and workgroups to benefit the Loudoun community, including:
1. Community asset mapping opportunity: This resource sheet was a collaborative document developed by the team to house the variety of resources that the Loudoun community can offer to its members 2. Loudoun TICN immediate gaps/needs/priorities within the community workgroup collaborative: The SCAN facilitator asked the TICN to collaboratively identify what are areas within our community that we can identify as areas of need? How can we shine a trauma-informed lens on these gap needs? 3. Workgroups and coalitions currently functioning in Loudoun County: The TICN identified workgroups currently doing trauma-informed work in the Loudoun community that may be represented or should be represented at the trauma network. 4. An opportunity identifying the Loudoun TICN membership: This activity identified our strength as a trauma-informed collaborative. It also identified Loudoun sectors that were TICN members and asked the question: Who do we need to reach out to so that we are all-inclusive to the entire community?
SCAN looks forward to collaborating with the Loudoun community and continuing to support impactful trauma-informed work, grow and effect change, and serve Loudoun County.
The next Loudoun TICN meeting will be held on November 28th from 9:30-11:00 am at HealthWorks of Northern Virginia. Interested in attending? Please contact us!
Vicarious trauma. Compassion fatigue. Secondary traumatic stress. Burnout. These are all things that those of us working in helping professions experience. There are some similarities between the four but there are also many differences. Recently, over 80 “helpers” shared a day together, learning about everything from the basics of trauma to how to cope with the effects of the daily struggles we face working in such a vulnerable field. Knowing more about the environment we work in is half the battle to remaining balanced and effective.
Chrissy Cunningham, MSW the Prevention Coordination Specialist from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services presented Trauma 101, emphasizing the importance of understanding trauma and the need for positive relationships to manage the effects of trauma.
Allyson Halverson BS, CCLS, CTP a Certified Child Life Specialist I at the Pediatrics Department of Inova Loudoun Hospital talked about the various traumas children are faced with in a hospital setting and how trauma can lead to fears and phobias into adulthood.
Lori Wolkoff, Victim Specialist – Washington Field Office and Barry E. Moore, Unit Chief, Child Victim Services Unit shared their experiences in the FBI Victims Assistance Program and the coordination and care needed for victims of varying traumas and experiences.
John Walker, Ph.D., LMFT with the Family Connections program at Loudoun County Department of Family Services ended the day with a humorous and vulnerable discussion on Compassion Fatigue.
For highlights of the day including links to speakers and resources, visit our Storify page here.
October 4, 2017–On November 7th, SCAN will host “Helping the Helpers,” the fourth summit in Loudoun as part of its Resilient Children, Resilient Loudoun initiative through support from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation. This event is for all community members, especially those who work with or interact with people who have suffered trauma, or want to know more about secondary traumatic stress.
Presenters will include Christina Cunningham, MS, from Fairfax TICN; Allyson Halverson, BS, CCLS, CTP, Certified Child Life Specialist from Inova Loudoun Hospital; John P Walker, Ph.D., LMFT withFamily Connections, Loudoun County Department of Family Services; and members of the FBI Victims Assistance Program.
Tickets are $20 per person (including lunch) and are available to purchase online at: http://bit.ly/2yiVrKQ
On October 5, SCAN—with support from LAWS (Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter) and its Loudoun Child Advocacy Center—brought together 129 local human service providers to hear Dr. Chris Wilson talk about The Neurobiology of Trauma.
This relatively new approach allows those of us who work with children (including law enforcement, school staff, social workers and foster parents) to rethink not only how we question children but also about how we process the information that a child is giving to us.
With more than 20 years of experience in the neurobiology of trauma, vicarious trauma, victim behavior, how to be trauma informed, and group process, Dr. Wilson has worked with a wide variety of audiences and is currently a trainer for the United States Army’s Special Victim Unit Investigation Course, Legal Momentum, and You Have Options Program.
Dr. Wilson reminded those of us attending that defining trauma looks something like this:
extreme fear/terror/horror + lack of control/perceived lack of control = very real changes in the brain at the time of the incident and after the incident
When a child experiences something traumatic, the pre-frontal cortex becomes impaired, meaning “we lose the ability to control our attention, integrate data, and make logical decisions” and the hippocampus is directly affected, thus affecting how a child remembers the traumatic event. This direct physiological impact must be taken into consideration not only when we first interact with children who have experienced a traumatic event, but also in how we continue the relationship with the child and how the child heals from the event.
Key training takeaways:
We must remember that trauma is subjective because threat is subjective. It means different things to different people and therefore, every individual’s response to traumatic events vary.
Children overwhelmingly blame themselves because of their egocentrism – it’s the only context they have.
Victims from 9/11 have given us a “map of danger” that didn’t exist before.
It’s not the relationship that is abusive, it is the perpetrator; we need to say “she was raped”, not “she was victimized.”
Use “soft eyes” not “hard eyes” when talking to children who have experienced trauma. Make the conversation about feelings to help the child recall specific facts that may have otherwise been forgotten or repressed.
This valuable training would not have been possible without the support of our funders: Loudoun Child Advocacy Center, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Washington DC and LAWS Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter. Thank you!
At SCAN, we strive to bring quality training and workshops to the region and to YOU at your place of work or your local community organizations. Continue to follow us to learn more about what we are doing in the community to prevent child abuse and neglect – and how you can become involved and empowered to help.
– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager, email@example.com
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT: SCAN, as part of The Loudoun Partnership for Resilient Children and Families, will present a training event on October 5th with trauma expert Dr. Chris Wilson. The event is intended for all community members, especially those who work with or interact with people who have suffered trauma, including law enforcement officers, child protective services professionals, commonwealth’s attorneys’ office staff, mental health providers, victim advocates, teachers, counselors and parents. The event is made possible with support from Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS), Loudoun Child Advocacy Center, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Ronald McDonald Charities of Washington DC and SCAN of Northern Virginia. There is $25 registration fee for the event, which will take place from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy in Ashburn, Va.
> To be added to a wait list for the event, please contact Tracy Leonard at tleonard(at)scanva.org.
With more than 20 years of experience in the neurobiology of trauma, vicarious trauma, victim behavior, how to be trauma informed, and group process, Dr. Chris Wilson has worked with a wide variety of audiences. Dr. Wilson is currently a trainer for the United States Army’s Special Victim Unit Investigation Course, Legal Momentum, and You Have Options Program.
Being the wealthiest county in the United States might sound like a great thing, but for the vulnerable children and families living in Loudoun County, it simply isn’t.
During 2016, SCAN will be helping agencies who serve children and families in Loudoun County to determine where gaps in services exist, explore what obstacles children and families are facing, and sift through data to paint a more accurate of picture of “wealth” in Loudoun County.
The focus groups have been an informative way for SCAN to get to know the community better as well as an exciting new way for organizations to talk to one another. At the end of our grant, we will produce a report for agencies in Loudoun County to use when seeking funding for their programs and when having open conversations with the decision makers of Loudoun County. Funding, government supports and individual contributions will be able to be more efficiently used to fill in gaps and further develop the “wealth” of Loudoun County. Because wealth means many things, including a more connected community that protects children from abuse, helps foster positive parenting skills and ultimately builds stronger families.
– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager
p.s. You can download an infographic about our work in Loudoun here.