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“Going Way Upstream” - Panelists at Resilient Pender County Conference report on current trauma prevention and healing efforts; look to future


Amy Read of Coastal Horizons introduces the panel following a viewing of "Resilience: The Biology of Stress, The Science of Hope", at the Pender Resiliency Task Force Mini Conference Thursday, June 8 ,at Heide Trask High School in Rocky Point.

A "dream team" of subject-matter expert panelists (L-R) were Ryan Estes of Coastal Horizons, Ben David, district attorney for Pender and New Hanover counties, Judge J. H. Corpening, district court judge for New Hanover and Pender counties, Taylor McDonald, senior partnership engagement manager, Prevent Child Abuse, North Carolina, and Carey Sipp, director of strategic partnerships, PACEs Connection.

The lively discussion among panelists and with the audience covered a variety of topics on getting ahead of childhood trauma and pain, suffering, and challenges it creates in education, law enforcement, healthcare and society, by going upstream of the problem to prevent problems, including

  • The need for law enforcement, the judiciary, education and other sectors to use the 35 years of research and reports on brain science, especially the 1998 ACEs Study, which shows the connection between childhood trauma and adult disease, behavioral issues, addictions; how toxic stress in childhood increases the likelihood of becoming the victim or the perpetrator of a crime, how six or more ACEs impact health and shorten, on average, the lifespan by 20 years.
  • The need to focus on new research — from 2018 and highlighted by  Bruce Perry MD, PhD, co-author, with Oprah Winfrey, of the best-selling book “What Happened to You, Conversations on Trauma, Healing and Resilience” and one of the principle researchers of the study — showing how critical the first 60 days of life are for infant brain development, affecting the function and structure of the developing brain.
  • Newborn babies need safe, stable, nurturing caregivers and environments to be able to form a secure attachment to their primary caregiver, which lays the foundation for healthy brain and emotional development.
  • The peer-reviewed success of family-nurse home visits following the birth of a child in preventing the child's later (teenage) involvement in the juvenile court system.
  • Many ways the judiciary and office of the district attorney work in New Hanover and Pender counties — and throughout the State of North Carolina — to help prevent youth court involvement. Soon a new program will be piloted in New Hanover County, Safe Baby Courts. In these special courts families are wrapped in supportive assistance: parenting, counseling, housing, and other supports, in hopes of preventing court-ordered separation and instead helping families stay together.Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.50.29 AM
  • The Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts resources, including the ACEs-Informed Bench Card created by Task Force members to help judges respond, from the bench, in a more ACEs-informed, or trauma-informed manner. The six-panel brochure is available for free downloads to anyone visiting the site. Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.24.47 AM
  • Coastal Horizons offers the Child First home visiting program, where visiting social workers help new parents in each family's home environment. As part of its programming to address trauma and its impacts on individuals and the community, Coastal Horizons implemented the program that is funded by Trillium.
  • Efforts being made to help mothers incarcerated for using drugs or possession of drugs to still be able bond with their babies with supervised visits that may also include time for breast feeding
  • Efforts to help mothers who are released from prison to stay alive and focus on themselves and their children as opposed to falling back into addiction or committing suicide.Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.46.22 AM
  • Existing and new programs offered through Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCA-NA) including resources being made available through the National Family Support Network and their Family Resource Centers which will complement existing free trainings offered throughout the state by PCA-NC including Connections Matter, parenting programs and more.Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.49.17 AM
  • A request for attendees to join PACEs Connection North Carolina  and the Pender County Resiliency Task Force, to take advantage of the many free resources available through the international "mother ship" home site with its 59,000+ members, including its free Creating Resilient Communities course, sponsored by Genentech, to help community organizers better use the science of positive and adverse childhood experiences (PACEs) as they build heir communities, and also use the myriad free resources on the free website provided to each cross-sector community so they have access to the resources and tools of PACEs Connection with the convenience of building their own on-line presence, and the ability to track and report on presentations that include PACEs science and solutions to community members, as well as the ability to share examples of how other communities are meeting challenges.


Images (4)
  • Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.50.29 AM: North Carolina Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts Judge's Bench Card
  • Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.24.47 AM
  • Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.46.22 AM
  • Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 8.49.17 AM

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