The COVID-19 pandemic has brought persistent anxiety to Colorado’s children and families. In uncertain times like these, trauma-informed care is crucial. The Kempe Center has made great strides in training and implementing this necessary care through the Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice (TRIP) Program, led by Dr. Evelin Gomez. This program fosters healthy, safe and responsive environments in children, youth and family serving systems across the state. Over the past few months, TRIP has made some notable progress. The Kempe Foundation is pleased to highlight some of this progress below:

Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute
In collaboration with the Office of Behavioral Health, The Kempe Center is implementing trauma-responsive trainings for the Colorado Cross-Systems Training Institute (CSTI). Using the TRIP model, Kempe professionals developed trauma-responsive content and coaching for CSTI’s wide-reaching audience. These instructor-led (currently virtual) and self-paced web-based trainings are targeted to all professionals who work alongside children. This spring, they will provide training and coaching for school professionals on the Trauma-Responsive Schools Theory of Change Toolkit they co-authored.

NCTSN Breakthrough Collaborative
On a national level, Kempe professionals participated in an 18-month collaborative led by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). This collaborative was a call to educators around the country to keep children in the classroom. Research revealed that referrals, the term used for sending children to the principal’s office, are not a trauma-informed practice. Kemper Elementary School, located in the Montezuma Cortez School District, was enthusiastic about joining this collaborative with the Kempe Center. Kempe provided coaching, consultation and training to the school’s staff on how to implement trauma-informed care into their discipline. When these trauma-informed, individualized strategies were put into place, the school’s referrals decreased by 80%.

Aurora Public Schools
Many schools have behavioral intervention plans (BIP) and functional behavioral analysis (FBA) approaches that aren’t fully trauma-responsive and culturally informed. To improve their practices, Aurora Public Schools invited Kempe professionals to direct a workgroup to overhaul their BIP and FBA systems. The intent is to implement strategies and procedures to focus on regulation and be more individualized, culturally responsive, and cognizant of students’ trauma backgrounds and triggers.

Rite of Passage
Rite of Passage is a nationwide network of residential treatment centers which provides programs that empower youth and families to succeed. The specific center, based out of Arizona center, serves as a home and school for children who have lived through adverse experiences. After doing an assessment of the organization’s needs, Kempe’s professionals recommended training everyone, from educators to case workers to cafeteria staff, on trauma-informed care. In order to make sure this education was thorough and sustained, Kempe trained managers, directors, and supervisors to provide ongoing trainings to staff and new hires.

Challenges for Future
Looking to the future, there are a few key challenges that Kempe professionals acknowledge. Implementing trauma-informed care requires organizational policy change. Without support from legislators, organizations don’t have the funds to support this work on their own. Further, there is much work to be done on identifying metrics and best practices for evaluation of trauma informed approaches, implementation and dissemination. To ensure that Kempe is able to address these challenges and continue this work, please consider donating to The Kempe Foundation. Your donation will go towards pushing child-focused policies forward, implementing trauma-informed care, and creating a better future for Colorado’s children and families.