Building a Childhood Trauma Informed Network

08/15/2019

By Sue Cody

Building healthy and productive lives is a commitment the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization takes seriously. Partners in Columbia and Clatsop counties are working with the CPCCO to build a network linking health care, education, child welfare and the community to implement trauma-informed care.

“We have learned a lot about the tremendous impact of unaddressed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on future health and well-being,” says Angel Escobedo, senior program development specialist with CPCCO. He was hired to bring together partners and support development of a Childhood Trauma Informed Network in Clatsop and Columbia counties.

We know that utilizing trauma-informed approaches by a community can build resiliency and help children and adults overcome childhood trauma, Escobedo says.

Trauma and resiliency

ACEs is a term that identifies levels of childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, bullying and poverty. Those people who have high levels of childhood trauma are more likely to experience chronic health conditions, underachievement, misuse of drugs and alcohol, incarceration and early death.

As more people become aware of the negative effects of trauma, they can start finding links to healthier behavior. Trauma-informed care takes into account what childhood traumas a person has experienced. Instead of asking someone what is wrong with you, leaders suggest asking what happened to you.

On the other end of the spectrum is “resiliency,” or the ability to overcome trauma and adapt well to adversity.

Resiliency counterbalances the risk factors caused by trauma, such as emotional and physical abuse.

We know if we move toward resilience, we can outweigh the trauma and have a happier, more productive life, Escobedo says.

Angel Escobedo from Columbia Pacific CCO

Building the Childhood Trauma Informed Network

First, Escobedo is meeting with people in different sectors: health, education, criminal justice, child welfare and the economic community to learn what is happening in Clatsop County.

He is identifying resources, working with a steering committee and developing a work plan for a network that can be self-sustaining in four to five years.

“Schools are leading the way,” Escobedo says.

For instance, Seaside School District is teaching students about brain function and how to identify and control their own emotions and behavior.

Kids are acknowledging their feelings and are being taught how to work through those feelings, so they can continue to learn, Escobedo says.

Hospitals have also implemented methods to educate parents. Columbia Memorial Hospital offers ACEs screening for parents.

Escobedo says, “Health care providers can talk to parents about resilience and protective factors to influence the health of each child. We want to heal what we are handing down so the next generation can be resilient.”

The Way to Wellville encourages trauma-informed care.

Learn about ACEs at http://bit.ly/W2WACES.

Learn more about resilience at http://bit.ly/W2Wresilience.