DCYF Launches Effort to Grow Trauma-Informed and Healing Centered Practices

December 22, 2022
Community holding hands in sunset -- partnership

DCYF Launches Effort to Grow Trauma-Informed and Healing Centered Practices

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) Executive Leadership Team recently launched an agency-wide effort to grow trauma-informed and healing-centered supports throughout the agency.

According to the National Institute for Children Health Quality, nearly half of American children are exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can severely harm their future health and well-being.[1] Supports for healing are vital to every aspect of our work and are of fundamental importance to DCYF’s mission to ensure that Washington State’s children and youth grow up safe and healthy.

Specifically, the agency will:

  • Make trauma-informed and healing-centered training available to all agency staff and contractors.
  • Create trauma-informed and healing-centered communities of practice to support DCYF staff.
  • Establish trauma-informed and healing-centered professional standards that may be applied across systems, including Early Learning, Child Welfare, and Juvenile Rehabilitation.
  • Conduct a trauma-informed policy review.
  • Administer an organizational trauma-readiness self-assessment to monitor DCYF’s progress toward becoming a trauma-informed and healing-centered agency.

These and other actions are planned under a new agency charter, the Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Approaches Charter, created to bolster supports provided by DCYF staff and contractors.

The Charter was created by the DCYF Trauma-Informed Care Champions Workgroup, comprised of DCYF staff from across the agency, including Child Welfare, Juvenile Rehabilitation, and Early Learning. On Oct. 19, these “Champions,” along with external partners, launched a workgroup to articulate trauma-informed and healing-centered professional competencies—or knowledge, skills, and abilities—that may be applied across Washington’s systems of care.

“Trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches are more important now than ever before,” said Assistant Secretary of Early Learning, Nicole Rose, one of three sponsors of the Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Practices Charter. “This effort presents a great opportunity to increase collaboration across the agency.”

By establishing competencies and engaging in activities detailed in the Charter, DCYF is constructing a shared framework and language to enhance safety and equity in the child, youth, and family learning and support systems; boost workforce stability, retention, and wellness; and improve child, youth, and family outcomes.