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County Executive's Office

Dane County Begins Sponsoring Trauma Informed Trainings for Neighborhood & Community Centers

February 27, 2020
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

Part of $600,000 County Investment in Community Centers to Address Mental Health Needs of Local Youth

Today, County Executive Joe Parisi announced that Dane County will begin sponsoring the first of several trauma informed trainings for community center staff and volunteers. Neighborhood and community centers see firsthand the effects of mental health challenges and trauma on young people. The 2020 Dane County budget includes $30,000 to support training for community centers to build a network of out-of-school time programs that offer trauma-informed support for youth.

“Neighborhood and community centers are one of the most important investments we can make toward ensuring all of our kids and families have the ability to reach their full potential,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “These trainings will provide community center staff and volunteers with the support they need to reach more youth and provide our young people with an environment where they feel comfortable to express themselves and grow.”

There are increasing mental health needs among young people in the community that stem from a variety of causes. Childhood mental health, trauma, and poverty are all barriers to the future success of young people. Neighborhood and community centers serve students on a daily basis, witnessing firsthand the rise of mental health and trauma-related needs. By offering trauma informed training, community centers will be equipped to better serve young people who have experienced hardships and provide a welcoming and supportive service environment.

This infusion of Dane County dollars builds upon the trauma training started by the Madison Out of School Time (MOST) initiative. MOST was launched in 2013 by the City of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District in partnership with Dane County and youth-serving organizations. MOST connects children and teens with high-quality programs offered during out-of-school time to support healthy development and high achievement. Roughly 16,000 Madison students rely on an out-of-school time organization.

“Ensuring our community’s out-of-school time workforce is trained, respected, and well-compensated is a critical lever to ensure that every young person in Madison and Dane County has access to high quality opportunities to learn, grow, and be loved when they are not in school,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway. “We’re so excited that Dane County has decided to amplify and accelerate this work by investing significantly into expanding the Trauma-Informed-Care training we started last year, and we are looking forward to continued partnership to ensure that every young person in Madison and Dane County has adults in their lives who are equipped to support them.”

In collaboration with Dane County and MOST, Quality Youth Development Consulting and the Wisconsin Afterschool Network will offer three, 2-day training courses on trauma informed approaches on (Group 1) February 28 and March 27, (Group 2) April 2 and April 23, and (Group 3) September 11 and October 2. The course is designed to provide 15 hours of advance level training experience to help program staff understand and provide care to our most vulnerable children. Subsequent trainings will then be held to 1) support agencies in their efforts to fully apply, integrate, and create a trauma informed environment for youth, and 2) conduct one-hour site visits to agencies needing additional support in developing trauma informed approaches and climate.

This sequential training and facilitated discussion space will provide community center staff and volunteers the opportunity to share knowledge, experiences, and resources as trauma-informed approaches are integrated into the fabric of their practices. It will provide an opportunity to learn from and with each other, share best practices and the struggles of implementation, and will ensure joint accountability and support to create organizational change that benefits local youth.

These trainings are the first of many investments Dane County intends to make in neighborhood and community centers. In total, the county will invest over $600,000 in 2020 for community centers to help address the mental health needs of its young people. Of those funds, $500,000 will be used to deliver behavioral health services for youth through community centers.