ACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the community and reduced recidivism for former offenders.

How One Connection at CYW’s ACEs Conference Sparked Awareness into Action

 

Anyone who attended last year’s ACEs Conference hosted by the Center for Youth Wellness knows there was an exceptional line-up of speakers. From Nadine Burke-Harris and her welcoming remarks to Bryan Stevenson’s closing keynote, there were many inspirational examples of work being done to push the ACEs movement “from awareness to action.” The format of the conference also encouraged interaction of attendees, which was a strong reminder that sparks of change can originate in unexpected places. I noticed this even before the conference started. As I was waiting in line to pick up my badge, I struck up a conversation with the person standing next to me in line. This experience was a reminder that you just never know who you will meet and what type of journey you might end up on together.

That first conversation that Andi Fetzner and I had in that registration line set the tone for the development of a shared vision. After working together for several months, we decided to formally partner under Origins Training & Consulting, a firm focused on supporting leaders transform their organizations and communities through the science of adversity and resilience.

Origins offers a number of training and consulting services. We developed The Basics as a half-day session to provide the foundation to support trauma-informed and resilience practices across sectors and industries. The session includes an overview of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, the neurobiology of toxic stress, the impact of social and historical trauma, and the science of resilience. We have tested The Basics with two cross-sector audiences, in Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Our vision includes the following principles:

  • The beginning is always a good place to start. Trauma-informed and resilient communities understand not only the interventions and policies but also the reason behind them. A solid foundation increases investment and creativity in implementation of these practices.
  • We need to talk about resilience. While the ACEs framework and the language of trauma-informed practices are important, resilience is where the magic happens.
  • Resilience is rooted in culture. Trauma-informed organizations and communities embed resilience principles into all interactions and communication.
  • Language matters. In order for organizations and communities to adopt this paradigm shift, a common language and understanding must be shared by everyone.
  • We all need to be accountable. Resilience requires an understanding of and accountability for how each individual’s behavior plays a role in how our systems and communities operate.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work. Communities can come together in the interest of developing solutions to their specific struggles. There is an opportunity to learn from others who are doing similar work in different sectors.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes. Achieving resilience is a process. Establishing safety in risk-taking supports that process.

 

A bit about Andi and me…With a background in healthcare systems, strategic planning and project management, I, like many others who are working in the ACEs movement, experienced a lightbulb moment several years ago when I stumbled across the ACE study for the first time and wondered why I had never heard of it before.  Shouldn’t this have been covered on day 1 of my Masters of Public Health program? With this perspective in mind, I started shifting my own consulting to focus on ACEs-related work. This included leading strategic planning and supporting organizational development for Trauma Free DC, a coalition with the goal of raising awareness of and reducing the impact of ACEs in the Washington, DC area. I have since relocated to Davis, CA and am an active member of Resilient Yolo and am an ACE Interface trainer.

Andi has a background in providing both clinical and non-clinical direct service to children, adults, and families. In helping them navigate the various systems of care, she realized the need for a standard in language that integrated the principles of ACEs Science. Over the past several years, she has expanded her efforts to meet this need by training across-sectors, focusing on trauma-informed and resilience practices. She has been very active in the ACEs Consortium in Phoenix and in Southern Arizona. When we met, she had just launched her own training and consulting business focused on ACEs and trauma-informed practices. She now serves on the steering committee of the Trauma Informed Taskforce of Greater Los Angeles.

If you are interested in learning more about Origins, please email us at info@originstraining.org, visit our website at www.originstraining.org, or check out our interactive attached flyer with links to our social media. You can also click here to follow us on social media @originstc or https://www.facebook.com/originstc/

This stuff is simple, but it’s not easy. Let’s get back to The Basics.

We hope you will join us on this journey.

 

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