Jane Stevens (l) with Michelle Fadell (r)
First 5 Marin Children and Families Commission featured ACEs Connection Network founder and publisher Jane Stevens in a Marin Communications Forum event on Monday, May 15.
Thanks to the hard work of host Michelle Fadelli of First 5 Marin, a full Embassy Suites ballroom of up to 180 Marin County service providers, from a variety of agencies, gathered. Participants were eager to hear about ACEs science, as well as trauma-informed practice from the perspective of service providers for African American, Latino, and youth populations.
Jane discussed ACEs science, as well as its history and current applications in practice. A key take-away was Jane's message: Communities that target multiple social indicators at once, and set expectations for long term implementation of at least five years, experience a marked reduction in social problems. She shared a few stories that have been featured on ACEsConnection.com, about successful efforts by communities to become trauma-informed, including this article about "self-healing communities".
To learn more about these findings, see full report on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.
"It is critical to find resilience solutions in order to comprehensively address trauma," Jane said. She talked about the culture/mindset shift needed in the way we approach this work: from blame, shame and punishment... toward understanding, nurturing, and healing.
Also featured on the agenda were local community providers who shared their strategies for bringing a trauma-informed lens to their work.
Marin City Health and Wellness Behavioral Health Director Dr. Karuna Leary and Program Facilitator Rolanda Wilkins discussed their work with youth and families. Through counseling and healing group work, Dr. Leary emphasized that their center has become "Where people come to get healthy".
Marin Community Clinic's lead behavioral health (Caren Schmidt) and lead medical (Andrea Parsons) staff members presented about the needs and challenges in serving a largely immigrant, often undocumented community in Canal City. This clinic practices trauma informed care through close collaboration within the agency, across their behavioral and medical health staffs. They also have case management staff that helps link patients to outside resources critical to their survival needs, such as housing, education, and more.
The final presentation was moderated by Dana Pepp, the Commission Chair of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission. This panel included four young adults, most of whom had been formally system-involved through foster care and/or juvenile detention, and now have become community advocates through Marin's Opening the World. Each young person, now in their 20s pursuing a range of personal and professional goals, told inspiring stories of how intervention by caring adults made a significant difference to their respective life paths.