The $3 Trillion Heroes Act that passed the House of Representatives on May 15 is primarily a statement of House Democrats’ priorities for the next stimulus COVID legislation and will not be the starting point for the Senate when it returns after the Memorial Day recess. The slim Republican majority in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, questions whether a large spending bill is the right approach, saying that states and localities must demonstrate that they are spending the money wisely before additional funds are allocated. The Heroes Act, unlike the $2.2 Trillion CARES ACT that was signed by President Trump on March 27, has several specific references to trauma, mentioning “trauma-informed” care and services at least twice in the 1800-page HEROES bill. They include:
—support for the “professional development for school-based staff on trauma-informed care to restore the learning environment,” as part of the $90 Billion State Fiscal Stabilization fund to support elementary and secondary schools and public postsecondary institutions (The CARES ACT included a little over $30 billion for the stabilization fund).
—authorization for the Attorney General through the Justice Department Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to make grants to states and local governments to develop more effective education, training, research and other areas related to juvenile delinquency and programs to improve the juvenile justice systems. After nine areas of specific services were listed, there is a requirement that “each element described paragraphs 1 through 9 shall be trauma-informed, and reflect the science of adolescent development…” Service areas include such things as notification of test results, access to legal counsel, and expanded opportunities for community based services.
The Building Community Resilience Collaborative has prepared a number of fact sheets and summaries of the CAREs Act and will continue to provide updates. Attached is a document that includes links to several useful resources.