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CTIPP's Monthly Washington, D.C. Update: May 2022


Updates from the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) on White House, Agency, and Congressional action on trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Agencies on Board

White House National Drug Control Strategy

On April 21, 2022, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its National Drug Control Strategy to tackle an array of challenges with drugs in the United States with several encouraging initiatives aimed to prevent and address trauma.

In the prevention and early intervention background, the strategy covers the link between ACEs and substance use: “Another factor to consider in understanding the origins of substance use among youth is the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), their connection to [social determinants of health (SDOH)], and equity… It is possible to prevent youth exposure to ACEs and to reduce the harms associated with ACEs among individuals who have already experienced them. A coordinated effort to address SDOH will improve individual and population health, advance health equity, and decrease youth exposure to ACEs."

Additionally, in their recommendations for preventing substance use in children, ONDCP highlights programs in schools that focus on ACEs, screening for ACEs and trauma in health care settings, and community-level interventions. Read the full report here.

Secretary of Education Michael Cardona’s Plan to Improve Education

On April 18, 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona published an op-ed reflecting on his plan to improve education. In this editorial, the Secretary provides a vision to address educational disparities and support students’ academic and mental health needs, especially as we recover from the pandemic.

Specifically, the Secretary envisions continuing to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to ensure students have daily access to mental health and wellness supports and staff they need, improve educator preparation in trauma-informed practices, and establish partnerships with community-based organizations to support the whole child. The actualization of this vision will take sustained effort from all levels of government from the U.S. Department of Education to the state and local education agencies.

SAMHSA’s New Funding for Prevention-Focused “Partnership for Success” Grants

Public and private nonprofits are eligible for this grant program aimed at reducing the onset and progression of substance misuse and its related problems by supporting the development and delivery of state and community substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion services. Grant recipients focus on strengthening state and community-level prevention capacity.

Utilizing local, state, and national substance use public health data, recipients will identify prevention priorities in their communities, as well as develop and implement strategies. Recipients will utilize a data-driven approach to identify underserved communities and at-risk sub-populations of focus. Award amounts are $375,000 per year for community applicants and $1.25 million for state applicants. The pre-application webinar is May 18, 2022, and the deadline to apply is June 13, 2022. Read more here.

Legislative Action on Trauma and ACEs

Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022

On May 13, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022 (CSBG). CSBG is the only federal program with the explicit and overarching goal of reducing poverty, regardless of its cause. CTIPP worked with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) to ensure that the eligible uses of funds from the Block Grant include partnerships to promote healthy communities by preventing and mitigating trauma. Read more here.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022

On May 17, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2022. WIOA is landmark legislation designed to strengthen and improve the nation’s public workforce system and get people in America, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.

The WIOA of 2022 included several new directives and incentives to help program administrators support those for whom trauma plays a role in their challenges with securing and maintaining employment. This includes trauma-informed training for program administrators who support those facing barriers to employment and youth.

Funding for Trauma-Informed Schools in Fiscal Year 2023

Thank you to the 170 advocates who joined CTIPP’s letter to Congressional Appropriators asking that $1 billion in mental health and trauma-informed resources into America’s schools be included in the fiscal year 2023 budget. Thanks to your advocacy, more than 86 Members of Congress signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee to elevate the request.

In News: Mourning Loss & Traumatic Events

  • On May 12, 2022, President Biden mourned 1 million deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the President called for additional funding to control the pandemic. Congressional leaders continue to search for options to pass this funding.
  • On May 17, 2022, President Biden visited Buffalo, New York to acknowledge Saturday’s mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket. In response, the U.S. House of Representatives is exploring pathways to pass the bipartisan Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
  • This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to pass $40 billion in aid to Ukraine to support the country’s efforts to fight back against Russia’s invasion. This funding passed the U.S. House earlier this month.

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Re: "Funding for Trauma-Informed Schools in Fiscal Year 2023" ...

As for emotional/psychological trauma from unhindered toxic abuse, it typically results in a helpless child's brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. I feel it’s a form of non-physical-impact brain damage.

The lasting emotional and/or psychological pain from such trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one's head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit.

Owing to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, however, the prevailing collective attitude (implicit or subconscious) basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when social progress is most needed. And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay. ...

The health of ALL children needs to be of real importance to us ALL — and not just concern over what other parents’ children might or will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — regardless of how well our own developing children are doing. A physically and mentally sound future should be every child’s fundamental right — along with air, water, food and shelter — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.

Re: "White House National Drug Control Strategy" ...

I remember a then-president Bill Clinton deciding against fully federally legalizing cannabis consumption — after having championed it (or, at the very least, its decriminalization) prior to his election! ... Much worse, as president he instead greatly ramped up the 'war on drugs' — including against personal users, which needlessly unjustly destroyed lives — at the very same time he made it easier for bankers to become richer. [And yet he probably slept/sleeps well at night, nonetheless. I definitely could not.]

Cannabis products are known to be a healthier alternative to tranquilizer use/abuse and therefor a potential threat to pharmaceutical industry profits. Other than to pander to big pharma, which logically loves THC-consumption legal obstacles just fine, there was/is no good reason — morally, ethically or national interest — to maintain THC consumption's criminal status. ...

Though I've been fortunate enough to not have been personally affected by the opioid overdose crisis or other heavy substance abuse/addiction, I have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety due to PTSD-trauma to have known, enjoyed and appreciated the great release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC.

The preconceived erroneous notion that addicts are simply weak-willed and/or have committed a moral crime is, fortunately, gradually diminishing. It's also known that Western pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiates — the real moral crime! — for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.

Thanks, Jen Curt, and all of you at the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice, for the work you do to build this national movement to prevent and heal trauma, build resilience with PACEs Connection and our partners at the National Prevention Science Coalition. We are so glad you joined CTIPP and have appreciated your presentations, briefings and reports.

Thank you for bringing your expertise as a former congressional staff member (for Rep. Ayanna Presley) and your passion for the work to the PACEs science movement.

Carey Sipp, director of strategic partnerships, PACEs Connection

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