top of page
Build Community Capacity and Resilience

While the need for accessible and effective trauma-informed services is undeniable, many current policies and practices sustain silos and inhibit interprofessional collaboration. This fragmented approach often limits access to the comprehensive and coordinated care that individuals and communities require to heal, tap into resilience, and thrive. Overcoming barriers to communities building and leveraging capacity to support whole-person well-being is vital to realize the vision of truly trauma-informed systems and institutions.


A trauma-informed frame for vibrant, engaged, and connected community life promotes a holistic way of thinking about the interconnectedness of individual well-being, community health, and social justice. This approach also promotes evidence-informed interventions and promising practices that have been shown to enhance both individual and population-level health outcomes in a diverse array of communities across the globe. Improving and expanding access to community-based supports, from building capacity within existing community-based settings to fostering innovative collaborative models that establish new community-led ways to address unique localized needs, is a vital aspect of creating resilient, self-healing cultures in communities.

Community-based supports are most effective when they are grounded in the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve. A trauma-informed approach ensures community members have ownership of change efforts, fostering a sense of agency and honoring self-determination, which is particularly significant among populations that historically have been oppressed, disenfranchised, or marginalized by the status quo. Through trauma-informed community change efforts that are culturally-relevant and responsive to local contexts, community members stand empowered to work together to leverage strengths, gifts, and innate wisdom and sustain a healthy, vibrant, and connected community life.


It is time to move away from a focus on individual pathology and towards a strengths-based approach that acknowledges the impact of life experiences and community context. By shifting the question from "What's wrong with...?" to "What happened to...?" and “What’s strong with?” we can reorient our thinking and behavior towards promoting whole-person wellness, fostering shared understanding, supporting mutual meaning-making, and cultivating a culture of collective care in the communities in which we live, work, play, grow, and connect.


​ This dimension of the vision calls for us to:

  • Establish dedicated funding streams for trauma-informed community-based programs and initiatives to ensure sustained support

    • Prioritize funding for communities that are disproportionately impacted by trauma

    • Ensure programs that address the unique needs of diverse communities, including marginalized and underserved populations

    • Fund a variety of community-based programs aimed at preventing trauma and promoting resilience and recovery, such as out-of-school time programs, restorative community mediation practices, housing-first initiatives, vocational and educational support, nature connection programs, arts, and enrichment programs, etc.

    • Foster the cultivation and growth of local peer support networks to provide essential community-based support systems

  • Support innovative models of service delivery that leverage technology and promote equity as well as accessibility

  • Include people with diverse lived experience and members of trauma-impacted communities in task forces, committees, working groups, and other entities guiding service delivery

  • Establish an entity at the state or national level to devise training standards as well as to provide resources and technical assistance to communities seeking to build capacity and implement trauma-informed change

    • Create online resources and platforms for collaboration and sharing of best practices, promoting continuous learning among practitioners

    • Establish regional hubs to provide guidance and support to local communities in implementing trauma-informed approaches

    • Devise standards, evaluation mechanisms, and accountability practices to ensure community-based programming, resources, and services are accessible, equitable, and meet the unique, individualized needs of each community they are intended to serve through a trauma-informed lens

    • Allow for activities that extend beyond “just” service delivery that align with a trauma-informed approach, such as upgrading physical environments and creating green spaces or community gardens to promote physical and psychological safety, increasing community cohesion and connectedness, as well as bolstering a sense of community pride

  • Allocate funding to replicate and scale up successful community-based programs within each state, emphasizing community-led implementation to integrate local context effectively

    • Prioritize funding for community-based services that respect and uphold traditional cultural healing practices, ensuring services and supports reflect the diversity of the community in which they are available

  • Link state or federal funding to the implementation of a trauma-informed approach and provision of evidence-informed trauma-responsive/trauma-specific services in community-based settings

    • Establish mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing compliance with trauma-informed standards to ensure program integrity and fidelity to aligning with the principles of a trauma-informed approach

  • Reimburse the provision of evidence-based, evidence-informed, and promising practices demonstrated to promote trauma recovery through public healthcare coverage programs

  • Foster collaboration between state agencies, community-based organizations, academic institutions, and community members with lived experience of trauma and adversity to share resources and expertise

    • Create platforms for multi-sectoral planning and coordination of trauma-informed initiatives within communities

    • Establish and fund ongoing cross-sector community-wide education initiatives for both professionals as well as community members to enhance understanding of trauma’s nature, impacts, and available local resources to support recovery and growth

    • Devise mechanisms for secure information exchange across sectors to facilitate coordinated care, communication, and referrals while safeguarding privacy and confidentiality

  • Support the development of community-driven coalitions to advocate for policy change and resource allocation

  • Increase equitable access to financial resources and support programs to facilitate BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and other groups that have been oppressed to start businesses to meet the local community needs 

  • Innovate in the area of funding for trauma-informed initiatives to move away from short-term grants or proposals that only provide initial funding and prioritize external parties’ agendas over than the preferences expressed by community members, promoting more sustainable, community-led practices to meet emerging and evolving local needs

  • Develop standardized data collection tools and systems to monitor and evaluate the impact of community-based interventions

    • Disseminate research findings and best practices to people with lived experience of trauma and adversity as well as any other people and groups who are invested in and impacted by change across sectors and systems to support informed shared decision-making processes

bottom of page