Tribal Communities: Advancing Trauma-Informed Care by John Engel, MA

According to: Tribal Communities: Advancing Trauma-Informed Care by John Engel, MA

New federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes critical funding for advancing trauma-informed care services in tribal communities. The devastating impact of historical, intergenerational and current traumas experienced by tribal communities has long overwhelmed chronically underfunded health care, education, mental health, social service and legal systems in Indian Country. The current impact and anticipated aftermath of the coronavirus will surely add significant stresses to these vulnerable communities, families and children.

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A recent post in The National Law Review, CARES ACT Funding: Opportunity for Trauma-Informed Programs in Indian Country, called on tribal leaders to: “…encourage the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) to devote some of their CARES Act funds to address trauma in order to mitigate the inundation of trauma-triggered problems these agencies are likely to face in the near future. In addition to the immediate need for these programs, spending money on trauma-informed programs will continue to benefit the tribe long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

While tribal communities move quickly to access CARES ACT funding essential to advancing trauma-informed care, now is an important time to identify strategies and tools essential to planning and measuring the impact of trauma-informed initiatives.

An early education center in California, K-12 school system in Nebraska, and a health center in Idaho – all serving tribal communities - recently adopted the ARTIC (Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care) Scale, a widely-used and psychometrically valid assessment that measures staff attitudes toward trauma-informed care.

Using the Online ARTIC, baseline data on current staff attitudes toward trauma-informed care can be easily collected using a smart phone, tablet or computer and additional data collections can be repeated to assess the impact of training and coaching over time. Detailed reports automatically offer leaders greater confidence when making data-driven decisions about trauma-informed quality improvements and demonstrating to partners progress in becoming trauma-informed. Confidential individual reports are also included, building staff confidence and capacity to deliver trauma-informed services.

Currently, the Traumatic Stress Institute is offering a 30% COVID-19 Hardship Discount on all Online ARTIC purchases, providing relief to organizations and communities that would like to proceed with TIC measurement during financially challenging times.