Bipartisan trauma resolution passes the House unanimously

 

In the late afternoon on Feb. 26, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H. Res. 443, a resolution recognizing the importance and effectiveness of trauma-informed care and calling for a national trauma awareness month and trauma-informed awareness day.

First Lady Tonette WalkerThe impetus for the resolution resides with the First Lady of Wisconsin, Tonette Walker, who has taken a strong leadership role in advancing trauma-informed policy and practice statewide through Fostering Futures, and has elevated the issue among high level officials in the Administration and in states across the country through the governors and first spouses.

Most recently, Mrs. Walker presented on the Wisconsin experience at a session of First Spouses at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. She also will participate in a trauma forum, sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on May 10 in Washington, DC. The event—part of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day—will include a “virtual” town hall meeting to allow officials and advocates across the country to participate.

Mike Gallagher-2In statements on the floor of the House, the key sponsor, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and co-sponsor, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) both recognized the important role played by Mrs. Walker nationally. Rep. Gallagher also said in his opening statement: “House Res. 443 recognizes the importance of trauma-informed care to individual wellness, the efficacy of care, and improved quality of life for those who have experienced trauma. Passage of this resolution demonstrates that this body believes in the power that trauma-informed care can have in helping children, families, and adults overcome trauma and lead healthy lives.”

While the bill does not authorize a specific program or include mandates, it provides a vehicle for education and demonstrates the growing knowledge of and support for trauma-informed practices. It provides a foundational document for consideration of authorizing legislation and a vehicle for communicating the non-partisan nature of trauma-informed approaches.

The passage of the resolution is particularly significant in a time of highly polarized partisan dynamics in the Congress. When the bill was introduced this summer, Elizabeth Hudson, Director of Children’s Mental Health in Wisconsin and trauma leader, said it is “gratifying to see that decades of advocacy by survivors and advocates can culminate in this recognition, especially at this point in our political history.”

Rep. Danny DavisFirst hand experience of the value of trauma services for survivors was described in Rep. Davis’ floor statement when he said: “Very seldom do I talk about it or mention it, but I had a grandson who was murdered a year or so ago, and there were other children in the home. It was a home invasion. So I can tell people firsthand that the kind of attention and care that individuals get after they have had a traumatic experience makes a tremendous amount of difference in their recovery.” The Congressional Record with floor statements by Rep. Davis, Rep. Gallagher, and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX, Ranking member of the Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce Committee), is attached. Click here for a video of their remarks on the floor.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has introduced the companion bill in the Senate (Sen. Res. 346) with bi-partisan cosponsors. One Senate sponsor is Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) who has been a longtime and passionate champion for trauma-informed policy and practice and authored, along with Sen. Durbin (D-IL), the Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act (S. 774). Rep. Davis introduced the House companion, H.R. 1757.

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I deeply appreciate Representative Davis' bravery for sharing his personal insight into trauma - and the process of healing.  Oftentimes we (incorrectly) assume that trauma happens to others and we are immune.  Representative Davis' story sheds light on how those beliefs are often built on bias.  Thank you to all who are advancing this important work.  Karen   

This is great news Elizabeth; in particular that there is a Republican support or, at the very least, some Republican support that indicates a bipartisan show of hands.  One can only hope that First Lady Walker and Rep. Gallagher can move and shake their Party into actually getting the rubber to met the road, so to speak. That is, so far everything the Republican Party has done (and did) is to undermine ACEs with regard to what is needed to take action towards this human condition.  My observations and experience has been: although there might be bipartisan support for the 'knowledge' of ACEs or any other issue that effects the human condition, and requires specific programing and or mandates to remediate, intervene or just plain HELP people; it never really matches up with the Republican Agenda.  Thereby, it appears to me in oh! so many instances, that out of one side, Republicans like to say they support the 'knowledge' of ACEs (or a human need) however when it comes to supporting services that speak to the problem it never quite fits Their Agenda! I think my perception is right in this as it seems fairly consistent over time that Republicans believe services that remediate, intervene, or just plain help/support people are considered "entitlements".  Entitlements, as Republicans have coined that phrase,  plain and simple DO NOT fit with any Republican Agenda that I have ever seen.   So....more power to you First Lady Walker and Rep.Gallagher!  Here's to hoping you can move and shake and WAKE UP the Good Old Party! While they're at it they might tell that Party to stop coming up with Tax Scams that challenge health and other helpful systems; discrediting services that provide help to women and their families and all the other services that have been defunded and unsupported because they simply DO NOT fit into the Republican Agenda.

Thanks for that background, Elizabeth. Do we know yet more details about the TI month?  And also as you learn details for the May 10th trauma forum's  “virtual” town hall meeting to allow officials and advocates across the country to participate.  I am sure lots of folks from ACEs Connection would like to participate!

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