Virginia progress highlighted by NGA
In 2021, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) published this report highlighting best practices for state and territorial leaders seeking to prevent and mitigate the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma. Virginia's progress on a number of areas was highlighted in this report. Excerpts are pasted below:
In 2021, former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam created the Office of Trauma and Resilience Policy (OTRP), to lead trauma-informed policy efforts across the commonwealth. The Office of Trauma and Resilience Policy:
Leads efforts to infuse and sustain trauma-informed and healing-centered knowledge and skills into Virginia Department of Social Services culture, policies and practices;
Fosters collaboration with state-level stakeholders to align and coordinate our trauma and resilience efforts and initiatives; and
Engages with local partners and communities to promote resilience and healing in the children, families and individuals served.
Housed in the Virginia Department of Social Services, OTRP also coordinates efforts across Virginia state agencies and promotes implementation of the Virginia HEALS Trauma-Informed Model of Service Delivery.
In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly allocated $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act Staten and Local Fiscal Recovery fund to support Virginia’s Trauma-Informed Community Networks (TICNs). These funds will be used to develop a statewide community awareness campaign and offer education and professional development on trauma and resilience. Funding will also support local agencies within TICNs in an assessment, strategic planning and implementation process on becoming healing-centered both internally (with their workforce) and externally (with the children, families and individuals they serve).
The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) uses a brief screening tool, Screening for Experience and Strengths (SEAS), to identify and assess for the effects of trauma for the purpose of making family-centered referrals for further assessment or intervention. The tool is designed to be used across systems and sectors and is unique in that it has a section on protective factors to promote a strengths-based approach that identifies supportive relationships that promote resilience. This model supports both screening for trauma and built-in support for successful mitigation.