When the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) was founded eight years ago, there was an overwhelming need for the trauma-informed movement to expand and integrate into every area of life. In the time since our founding, this need has only grown. Fortunately, we have seen CTIPP grow, but not nearly as much as is needed. We must continue to grow. We must press on.
CTIPP has built a foundation to better meet the needs of our society. These needs are complex, and traditional approaches do not hold the nuance necessary to address the root causes of the issues we are facing. We need comprehensive strategies that acknowledge the uniqueness of diverse communities and attend to their needs and desires. We need to bring emerging understandings of trauma and trauma-informed approaches to every community so they can innovate alongside shared learning and networking opportunities.
In leading and supporting any transformative movement, we must live congruently with the principles we are working to promote in the world.
We have worked to create a trauma-informed organization since the beginning of our history. A major part of being trauma-informed is an ongoing commitment to a process of learning and growth. This includes learning from mistakes. Therefore, we celebrate the pursuit of becoming trauma-informed and continuing to do so rather than boasting the title of being trauma-informed.
Our board of directors has been reckoning with questions such as What does a trauma-informed organization look like? How can our board be trauma-informed and create opportunities for the communities we serve, staff, and volunteers to support decision-making processes? How do we embed social justice principles more fully into the trauma-informed movement? What is our shared responsibility in cultivating a community of belonging?
We are making steady, meaningful progress. A key step in this process is to ensure healthy turnover in our leadership, generating fresh and new perspectives for the organization. At the last board meeting of 2023, for the first time in our history, there was a full executive committee election, resulting in the appointment of new officers.
Additionally, we passed our first financial audit and are articulating organizational values, which are major steps in our development. This is indicative of a living, breathing, and healthy organization. We are grateful for the talents and time volunteered by original executive committee members and look forward to the contributions of new members.
We have developed a more trauma-informed process to promote our well-being as a staff. One way we are attending to our collective well-being is through biweekly process conversations. This has been necessary for supporting the team as we work passionately to support advocates and communities in bringing about transformative change. This process also supported conversations and practices that strengthened our second hiring process, which brought Antron McCullough to the team as Director of Empowerment and Engagement. In just the first few months of his being on the team, it is clear that this process was worthwhile.
All the work at the board and staff levels matters only insofar as they support our wonderful network across the country and emerging around the world. The work we engage with at CTIPP is predominantly at the macro level. Yet, we do this to support the work that is taking place to promote community-led, trauma-informed, prevention-oriented, resilience-building, and healing-centered policies and practices throughout the grassroots. We know healing takes place in the context of healthy relationships over time, so our work means a whole lot more when we have people working at every level of society promoting the movement.
Our vision is becoming increasingly clear. We are growing to become an intermediary for the movement. Inspired by the vision Dan Press left us, codified through our PressOn initiative, we are working to support an infrastructure that connects national, state, regional, local, and, in time, global cross-sector trauma-informed coalitions. These coalitions promote innovation and meaningful integration of policies and practices into society. This structure creates layered and loop learning opportunities through a systems theory framework to promote transformative change.
By creating and supporting connections across communities, the field will be better able to learn from emerging and promising practices, collect more diverse sources of information, and share unmet needs that can help promote meaningful development. At higher levels, we can synthesize and share findings, collaborate, learn from each other, and sustainably fund important activities that traditional philanthropy and government grants do not yet promote everywhere. This infrastructure sustains and scales bidirectional flow that uplifts diverse lived experiences and will propel the movement forward long into the future.
In the following pages, you will see the positive growth of our network and the impressive resources developed over the past year. We pause to celebrate the meaningful, impactful work that has been accomplished. We thank all of CTIPP’s network partners, staff members, board of directors, and collaborators across the country for making this vision a reality.
Jesse Kohler, M.Ed., CTIPP Executive Director
Lina E. Pasquale, MA, MA.PSY, CWC, CTIPP Board Chair