Building Better Lives is a communitywide initiative to prevent child abuse and neglect in Franklin County. BBL encourages everyone providing services to children and families to understand the impact that complex developmental trauma has on a child’s brain, learning, and behavior – and to adopt strategies that support a child’s healthy development and improve their educational, vocational and health-related outcomes. The Building Better Lives initiative is based on the work and training by Dr. Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., founder of the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas. Here are local areas of implementation to date:
- Early Childhood: 250 providers have been trained, and 7 child care centers are participating in an intensive pilot project to incorporate trauma informed care practices in their classrooms. A live training session was held in April for nearly 400 providers, and an additional 4-6 centers will join the consultation project next fiscal year.
- Education: Westerville City and South-Western City schools have trained a total of 75 educators in Neurosequential Model for Educators (NME), a Dr. Perry/ChildTrauma Academy training facilitated by FCFC, and teachers have already begun to implement these practices. At least 4 more districts are exploring participation in next fiscal year’s NME coursework, and FCFC may be sponsoring as many as 5 educators to be trained in leading NME courses. Nearly 400 providers attended the live session for educators in April.
- Higher Education: The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology and its P-2 Initiative co-sponsored appearances by Dr. Bruce Perry on campus in September 2013. We are working with higher education to spread the word about this research. The goal is to incorporate trauma-informed understandings and activities into existing curricula, especially because many of their education students will be teaching in Franklin County.
- Children’s Services: More than 400 Franklin County Children Services staff members have attended Dr. Perry’s training sessions, and they are beginning to integrate these concepts into their work on many levels. In April, FCFC provided a live session with Dr. Perry with nearly 400 foster and adoptive parents, kinship care providers and their contract providers/staff teams.
- Mental Health: The Buckeye Ranch, United Methodist Children’s Home and The Village Network are all in the process of obtaining certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), through coursework with The ChildTrauma Academy. This includes the foster care, residential and educational components of their services.
- Workforce Development: In April, there was a live session for nearly 450 businesses, staff and contract providers through Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services to learn how complex developmental trauma impacts our workforce and how to better prepare people for employment.
- Medical and Health Related Professionals: More than 100 providers have attended training with Dr. Perry, and we are working with several associations to provide health professionals with information to assist in early identification and referral, as well as, family education in trauma-informed practices.
- Families: We are developing educational information to help parents develop self- and co-regulation skills, as well as strengthen bonding and attachment. These materials are being designed for use by any of our providers who work with families and develop strategies to assist their children, regardless of age.