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Blythedale Children’s Hospital fosters trauma-informed care in the community

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences across all social services. Children, young people and adults were left with limited access to the usual services that support vulnerable families. Blythedale Children’s Hospital recognized the urgent need to implement universal precautions that can not only help and heal individual lives, but also make an impact at an organizational and systemic level.

As a way to provide this much-needed resource to the community, Blythedale Children’s Hospital is serving as the clinical leader and sponsor of Westchester County’s first-ever Trauma-informed Systems’ Change Learning Collaborative, facilitated by University at Buffalo’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care. This training is made possible through a generous grant from Kohl’s Department Stores and its Kohl’s Cares program. Kohl’s has supported vitally important community programs at Blythedale since 2000, donating nearly $3 million.

Trauma-informed care is an approach that shifts thinking from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?” to understand the nature and potential impacts of trauma. The Blythedale/ITTIC training program is six months (March to August) of customizable training to help organizations and communities transition toward trauma-informed care. While this training typically takes place in person, due to the pandemic, participants are gathering monthly via Zoom.

Five guiding principles serve as the backbone of administrative and service-related modifications:

  • Safety: Ensure physical and emotional safety for clients and staff.
  • Trustworthiness: Maximize trust; ensure clear expectations and consistent boundaries.
  • Choice: Strengthen staff and client experiences of choice and control.
  • Collaboration: Partnership and power-sharing between staff and clients, and
    among organizational staff.
  • Empowerment: Prioritize validating and building on individual strengths and skills.

Participating in this inaugural program are 37 “Champions,” comprised of mostly senior-level leadership from 24 different organizations in Westchester and Rockland counties. These community Champions will work to enliven a trauma-informed approach and provide a framework to help set the stage for healing, resilience and growth in Westchester County.

For more information, contact Justin Barbo, content manager, at jbarbo@blythedale.org or 914.306.3797.