Dept of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

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Trauma Informed Care Initiative


Trauma is significant in the way its shapes an individual’s mental, emotional and physical well-being.  It can result from an event, a series of events or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual.  Research indicates that anywhere from 55-90% of individuals have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is an initiative that is being implemented throughout Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services. The principles of TIC apply to all staff, regardless of their position or role.  These principles impact all aspects of our organization, from how services are provided to the physical environment.  By implementing TIC we are working to minimize trauma, re-traumatization and secondary trauma for our consumers and staff.

Trauma informed approaches work under the assumption that the person coming through our door for services has a trauma history.  This history may go back farther than the issue that brought them to us to begin with.  TIC is a shift in the way that someone seeking services is perceived from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”  In this environment, our staff will understand, anticipate and respond to each individual as a unique person with his/her own set of circumstances.  It also builds an understanding of how the past impacts the present, which effectively supports progress toward healing and recovery.

Secondary trauma is the stress that can result from exposure to traumatic material and the stress that can result from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering individual. Staff who act in a caregiving role (either at work or in their personal life) can be impacted by secondary trauma. In addition to trying to reduce secondary traumatic stress that staff may encounter through performing their job, the agency has taken steps to prevent burnout which helps to improve staff resiliency and their ability to cope.

The concepts identified within TIC are in line with the department’s mission vision and values. Our department is committed to implementing these initiatives and believes that by doing so it will have a positive impact on the lives of our consumers, staff and the community.



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