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: Kentucky Senate Bill 102
CTIPP Policy Dimension: Prevent and address trauma while building resilience in the K-12 education sector (22%)
Summary: This Republican-led measure, signed into law in April of 2022, builds on prior trauma-informed advancement in the state on the heels of the enactment of the 2019 School Safety and Resiliency Act, which prioritized trauma-informed environments and expanded access to support for student success.
SB 102 builds greater accountability and provides more resources to build a more resilience-focused, trauma-informed environment in schools statewide. Through this measure, schools are tasked with providing an annual census of trauma-informed school-based providers who support student wellbeing with the intent to utilize positive school relationships, environments, and supports to address the high rates of ACEs and trauma endorsed by residents across the Commonwealth.
The language of the measure affirms this, noting that “all schools must provide a place for students to feel safe and supported to learn throughout the school day, and that any trauma a student may have experienced can have a significant impact on the ability of a student to learn” and further directs all public schools to adopt a trauma-informed approach to education “to better recognize, understand, and address the learning needs of students impacted by trauma and to foster a learning environment where all students, including those who have been traumatized, can be safe, successful, and known well by at least one adult in the school setting.”
The bill indicates using SAMHSA’s framework to incorporate principles of trauma awareness and trauma-informed practices into schools and outlines more specifically what actions must occur in school districts to make this happen, including requiring one school-based mental health professional per 250 students, as well as the construction of trauma-informed teams consisting of school administrators, school counselors, school-based mental health services providers, family resource and youth services coordinators, school nurses, and any other school or district personnel “to identify and assist students whose learning, behavior, and relationships have been impacted by trauma.”
To support ongoing monitoring of whether students’ needs are increasingly being met, schools must also generate a report to the state Department of Education sharing insights on how the school climate honors inclusion and diversity, implements trauma-informed practices when disciplinary incidents occur, and support learning and growth for trauma-impacted students in the district.
Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights