Trauma Informed Care

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is not something to be achieved or completed; it is the way we strive to do business. When we understand that individuals who have been exposed to trauma, stress or childhood adversity are responding in the way that feels safe for them, we are able to take a more compassionate approach to their experiences with us. TIC requires ongoing critical assessment of policies, staff, training, and hiring policies to create environments where individuals feel safe and empowered.

Why is Trauma-Informed Care important?

  • Trauma-Informed Care is a universal precaution; trauma-informed practices provide healthier environments for everyone.
  • Trauma-Informed Care promotes inclusiveness and builds better relationships with customers and staff.
  • Trauma-Informed Care results in better outcomes.
  • Trauma-Informed Care is grounded in science and is a response to the research on brain development and toxic stress.

Winnebago County Resources & Projects

Compassionate Care in Crisis: Tips for caring for others & ourselves during COVID-19.

Photo: COVID VirusFor most people, COVID-19 will be associated with increased uncertainty and stress. When we are under acute stress we are more likely to be operating from the survival areas of our brain, which means that our thinking becomes much more black and white, our attention is more narrowly focused on the immediate here and now, we start to have difficulty planning or thinking ahead, we have difficulty regulating our emotions, and we become less able to make decisions. Stressful times are associated with threats to our safety and a loss of power and control. A trauma informed approach can help reduce or prevent a trauma response.

  • See all of our Compassionate Care in Crisis Tips here.
  • More COVID-19 Specific Resources can be found here.

In February of 2016, United Way Fox Cities convened twelve other agencies to work on implementing Trauma-Informed Care community-wide. The Trauma-Informed Roadmap Team had a vision for the Fox Cities that, “Everyone in our community is treated with compassion and respect, which allows them to thrive regardless of circumstances.”

Trauma-Informed Roadmap Principles

Using the continuous improvement model, representatives from the twelve organizations identified five common principles of Trauma-Informed Care:

  1. Safety
  2. Screening, Assessment & Service
  3. Empowerment & Collaboration
  4. Trust & Transparency
  5. Organizational Culture

The Trauma-Informed Roadmap Team created and tested assessment tools for each principle, developed an educational PowerPoint to help introduce Trauma-Informed Care to an organization’s board, staff and volunteers and created an introduction/overview to help guide the implementation process. They also created an organizational readiness self-assessment tool.

All materials developed through by the Trauma-Informed Roadmap Team are free of charge and can be used by any organization wishing to implement Trauma-Informed Care.

Winnebago County Trauma Informed Roadmap Website


Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Interface

The ACE Study confirms, with scientific evidence, that adversity during development increases the risk of physical, mental, and behavioral problems later in life. The ACE Study and other research using the Study’s framework have taught us that ACEs are common and are the leading cause of health and social problems in our nation – the most powerful determinant of the public’s health.

The prevalence of ACEs is staggering. There are 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and the more ACEs an individual has, the higher their ACE Score and the greater their risk for long-term consequences. Nearly every community feels the medical and social burdens of subsequent behavioral and physical health problems, including depression, suicide, heart disease, diabetes, and early death.

There is hope for healing, however. Start by understanding ACEs and their effects with a FREE Wisconsin ACE Interface Training. The mission of ACE Interface is to promote awareness of ACEs throughout Wisconsin, to create a shift in perspective in how we view health and social issues, and to inspire a new approach to building healthy and resilient communities.

Our volunteer trainers teach schools, health systems, law enforcement agencies, and other community groups to identify and respond to the toxic stress of childhood adversity. The Wisconsin ACE Interface curriculum provides communities with an introduction to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and brain development. Trainers from nearly 30 Wisconsin child welfare, human service, and other agencies volunteer their time and resources to facilitate the first step in the creation of self-healing communities.

Contact Mandi Dornfeld, Extension Winnebago County, to schedule your training at (920) 232-1973.

What the RESEARCH says:

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