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: Vermont Senate Bill 195 & House Bill 560
CTIPP Policy Dimension: Expand trauma-informed, healing-centered workforce (54% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)
Summary: This bipartisan measure, which was not signed into law based on the Senate Committee on Appropriations balking at its upfront cost, would expand the trauma-informed, healing-centered workforce in alignment with the peer support principle of a trauma-informed approach by creating statewide standards and funding for peer support specialists throughout the state.
The argument that peer support services pay for themselves by diverting patients from emergency rooms and preventing costly hospital stays was uplifted in Senate hearings to no avail, despite the widespread support from peer-led community-based mental health organizations as well as an acknowledgment among legislators that Vermont is experiencing “a crisis in mental health” and the current policies in place are falling short of meeting resident needs.
Notably, the peer support program outlined by this bill that advocates will hopefully continue to champion outline the core competencies of a peer support specialist certification program to include curriculum on the following topics: peer support values and orientation, including the healing potential of authentic and mutual relationships; the value and wisdom embedded in lived experience; concepts related to recovery, resilience, and holistic wellness; human rights-affirming approaches to care and advocacy; cultural competence; trauma-informed practices; the skills of effective group facilitation and conflict resolution; self-awareness and self-care; the importance of professional boundaries and ethics; collaborative documentation; and preserving privacy and confidentiality, much of what is in alignment with best and promising practices put forth by SAMHSA and other leaders in the field.
Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights
Explore ITTIC’s Trauma-Informed Legislative Proposals: 2022 in Review