Riveting and emotional: The full, first-ever Congressional hearing on “Identifying, Preventing and Treating Childhood Trauma” by the Oversight Committee chaired by Representative Elijah Cummings. Across the hearing, the story of developmental trauma is well-conveyed and powerful.
The magnitude and the priority of addressing developmental trauma were clear.
For me, it was all almost too incredible to process what I was hearing. Unspeakable awe and emotion!
The video can be viewed in sections for time management (and is posted in the ACEsConnection video section).
Two different panels provided testimony. The first panel (less than an hour) was comprised of four, trauma-impacted people who spoke less than 10 minutes each. The second panel members were professional experts in several different areas of trauma science, data, and application.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings began begins with a single sentence by Robin Williams, from the movie Goodwill Hunting, “It’s not your fault”. (beginning at 0:15:50 on the video timer).
Later Chairman Cummings shares some of his own struggles in the educational system, where he was misclassified into special education for his elementary years, a fate too frequent for “troubled [trauma-impacted] youth”.
Cummings communicates explicitly and very pointedly that “Childhood trauma is a nationwide public health issue associated with an epidemic of negative health consequences. We need a comprehensive, federal approach which recognizes the severe impact of childhood trauma and prioritizes prevention and treatment”.
Throughout, Cummings emphasized the requirement for any effort to be “comprehensive” and coordinated; a “whole child” approach.
Another explicit thread throughout the hearing was the importance of a front line of intervention in schools via trauma-informed education (and educators).
Click here for a few highlights, along with full video testimony.