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.
CTIPP Policy Dimension: Make local, state, and federal governments trauma-informed (19% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)
Summary: This bipartisan measure, which was not signed and enacted this legislative session, proposes amending New York’s Constitution by integrating a new section declaring the prevention and mitigation of ACEs as a matter of public concern and further requires that the state and its subdivisions address ACEs in key policy decision-making arenas that would advance the integration of a trauma-informed approach in government and the public sector.
The bill intends to “facilitate a public conversation and eventual acknowledgment of the breadth and depth of the consequences of ACEs and trauma for all New Yorkers” and “to express, in the principal legal document of New York State, a positive, fundamental duty to enact public policy with an eye toward the prevention and mitigation of ACEs and trauma… thereby redirecting societal problems before they metastasize and become unmanageable,” all of which align significantly with the concept of recognizing a universal precaution for trauma and adversity.
Notably, the justification text of the bill includes an extensive primer on NEAR concepts and references the myriad ways that trauma and adversity can unfold and cascade across the lifespan.
Encouragingly, the legislature notes its failure to act in ways known to mitigate the impacts of trauma and ACEs, stating that, “As policymakers, we must acknowledge that we have been allowing a de facto system of generational trauma to continue, and take responsibility for all of the consequences for our constituents, our communities, and our state. Therefore, the prevention of trauma and the mitigation of the effects of previously experienced trauma are public concerns…. By keeping future policy focused on ACEs and trauma, New York State can significantly reduce the pervasiveness of some of our most pressing societal problems. These include, but are not limited to, generational poverty, various healthcare crises, educational achievement gaps, ineffective economic and workforce development programs, child welfare failures, increased rates of alcohol and substance abuse, and recidivism and involvement with the criminal justice system.”
Despite this bill not yet successfully being signed into law, this bill has been reintroduced in the current 2023-2024 legislative session, demonstrating the commitment of champions within the legislature who will continue to work toward enshrining the concepts and actions proposed in the bill in law, which would almost certainly spearhead ongoing efforts to integrate consideration for trauma, its impacts, and known pathways to break intergenerational cycles of adversity into public policy moving forward.
Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights