By Whitney Marris, Trauma Therapist and Director of Trauma-Informed Practice & System Transformation
NOTE: The enclosed is sample legislation from CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights. It is meant to be educational and aspirational for trauma-informed advocacy.
Sample Legislation: Colorado House Bill 1295
CTIPP Policy Dimension: Increase positive experiences in early childhood (7% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)
Summary: This bipartisan measure, signed into law in April of 2022, establishes a new entity – The Department of Early Childhood (“the Department”) – and tasks it with consolidating the currently disparate early childhood programming initiatives, which are spread across multiple agencies throughout the state with different eligibility requirements and funding streams, to reduce the burdens families and providers face in navigating the system and create more integrated, trauma-informed services and supports so families may thrive.
One of the major initiatives of this measure is for the Department to administer a universal program providing 10 hours per week of free preschool for all children before they enter kindergarten. Notably, the measure incorporates several mentions of the nature and impact of experiencing trauma along one’s life course and also language supporting the use of a trauma-informed approach to support primary and secondary prevention of maltreatment, developmental adversity, and trauma experienced among families.
Case in point: the measure notes several hoped-for outcomes of administering such a program, including:
Promoting social-emotional growth and development of children
Providing guidance and training to professionals and caregivers to effectively understand and support children's positive behavior and development, including content on
Trauma and trauma-informed practices/interventions
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Caregiver substance use and family interventions
The impact of inequity and bias on children, families, caregivers, mental health consultants, and providers, and strategies to mitigate such impact
Support students with learning differences and special needs
Social-emotional development in the context of family systems
Increased understanding of the effects of trauma and adversity, including oppression, prejudice, discrimination, racism, and gender inequity, on the developing brain as well as more equitable, inclusive outcomes for diverse providers, children, and families throughout the state
Actionable strategies to reduce challenging behaviors and increase positive early experiences
High-quality interactions and relationships between children and adults
More knowledge and support related to the mental health and well-being of adults who care for children
More robust and coordinated referral networks such that children, families, and providers can access and utilize programs, resources, and supports that will assist them in optimizing their wellbeing
Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights
Explore ITTIC’s Trauma-Informed Legislative Proposals: 2022 in Review