Senate Bill Encourages Trauma-Informed Care
Before the close of the 114th Congress, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a wide-ranging measure aimed at promoting and expanding trauma-informed care across multiple sectors including health care, education, and law enforcement. The Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act of 2016 is a potential vehicle for incorporating the science of adverse childhood experiences and trauma into federal policymaking.
The legislation was intended to help individuals who have experienced trauma be identified and supported with the appropriate care. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, nearly 35 million children in the United States have had at least one serious traumatic experience. These experiences dramatically impact a child’s neurological and behavioral development, long-term health, and societal outcomes.
In response, the legislation creates a number of initiatives to help systems better respond to individuals who have experienced trauma. Highlights include:
- Disseminating Best Practices. Allowing funding for training in trauma-informed best practices for major federal grant programs that serve children who experience trauma;
- Training Law Enforcement. Creating a law enforcement coordinating center to share information, improve awareness of child trauma, and train officers on trauma’s impact;
- Establishing Grants for Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems. Establishing a school integration program that provides five-year grants to states, school districts, and Indian tribes to increase student access to trauma support services and mental health care by linking school systems with clinical providers; and
- Expanding Treatment Capacity. Creating a pilot Medicaid demonstration program to incentivize coverage of a comprehensive set of trauma-informed screening and treatment services.
The bill has yet to be reintroduced during the 115th Congress, but bill sponsors are reportedly at work building broad, bipartisan support for the measure. Learn more about this legislation by reviewing the following one-pager, section-by-section summary, and the full bill text. Stay tuned to the Capitol Connector blog for future updates on this legislation.