Making Wisconsin the First Trauma-Informed State
The urgency and magnitude of this issue are why I have pledged to make Wisconsin the first trauma-informed state, and why I co-founded Fostering Futures, a public-private partnership designed to move the TIC needle in Wisconsin.
The goals of Fostering Futures are to raise awareness of the:
- impact of ACEs
- power of developing resiliency
- importance of trauma-informed organizational change
To date, Fostering Futures has trained more than 10,000 people, including the Governor’s Office staff.
But training isn’t enough. Organizations that sign on to Fostering Futures create organizational “TIC Champion Teams.” Teams come from a wide range of sectors: state agencies, county health and human services agencies, higher education, tribal governments, and social service organizations.
We promote the involvement of multiple sectors because a TIC-informed approach is not just for health professionals, social service providers, and educators. Everyone has a role to play and it will take everyone to make the impact we need.
Teams participate in 2 years of formal, facilitated, shared learning experiences that is supplemented by ongoing coaching and project evaluation.
The results are promising: TIC Champion Teams have redesigned physical environments, examined and changed human resources practices, and offered wellness opportunities for staff. Cumulatively, these and other initiatives are being driven by the belief that a trauma-informed approach will improve the health and well-being of every Wisconsinite.
Building Momentum, Creating a Movement
Wisconsin’s strength and momentum are the result of both a thriving, grassroots movement as well as governmental leadership at the state and county levels.
Our efforts have had a ripple effect, reaching the federal level: We encouraged the passage of resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate that recognize the importance and effectiveness of TIC. May is now recognized as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month and May 22nd is National Trauma-Informed Care Day — it’s not too early to start planning!
This type of transformation is not easy, and research tells us that culture change takes at least seven years. Wisconsin has only just begun, but we are committed and determined. Every person we train, community we touch, and organization we impact helps prevent ACEs and improves the outcomes for children and families who have experienced chronic toxic stress.
We know that trauma-informed approaches have change lives across our state and across the country, and we’re only getting started.