Cortland County: Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative (CCSI) Trauma Informed Care Training Collaborative

CCSI LogoIn March 2015, Cortland County’s System of Care and Cortland County’s Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative (CCSI) used a portion of their NYS Success Innovation Grant to co-sponsor with Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), two full days of Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training.

The Trauma Informed Care approach is a treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.  Over the past several years, there has been an emphasis on trauma and TIC has been recognized as an evidence-based practice that is an essential element in effectively treating individuals affected by trauma.

Cortland’s TIC training was organized by Chris Driscoll, the county’s CCSI Coordinator and Systems of Care Project Director, worked with Dr. Elizabeth Meeker, NYS Success TIC Consultant and Director of Training and Practice Transformation for Coordinated Care Services, Inc. in Rochester, to design the training.

The TIC training was very well received.  There were about 100 staff (50 per day) who participated in the trainings.  There was cross-systems representation in those who attended which included administrators, principals, and mental health staff from three local school districts (Cortland, Homer and Marathon), CCSI System of Care team, OCFS Commissioner and casework staff, probation, and leaders from community agencies.

The primary goal of the training was to provide an overview of the Trauma Informed Care approach and raise awareness and understanding of the affects that trauma can have on children, families, and the larger community.  The training will also allow Cortland County to implement a multi-system TIC approach that will identify treatment programs and services that will better meet the special needs of the children and families affected by trauma.

Since the initial training in March, there has been continued interest in expanding the TIC training and offering it to teachers, school personnel, caseworkers, foster parents, probation, and community agencies.  There has been a Trauma Informed Care workgroup created that will focus on how to expand and provide more TIC training in the county as well as develop specialized TIC training for specific groups.  There are also plans to meet with school administrators to develop a TIC training for teachers and school personnel.

Also in June 2015, Cortland County’s System of Care partnered with local DSS to co-sponsor another Trauma Informed Care training for DSS staff which included foster care, child protective services, and a number of  foster parents.  This training was facilitated by Dr. Wendy Evers-Gordon*, Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

The TIC trainings have helped build some momentum in creating more trauma informed services within the community.  In the fall they will be piloting some multi-service efforts that will include a multi-agency school attendance policy and sharing of monthly open DSS service cases with designated school officials, when appropriate releases are in place.  Cortland County’s CCSI along with local schools, Probation, and DSS are all involved in these multi-agency efforts.

For more information about Cortland County’s CCSI, Trauma Informed Care Training Collaborative, please contact Chris Driscoll by email here.

*Dr. Wendy Evers-Gordon is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She is the Director of the Child Abuse Project, a joint effort between Child Psychiatry and Elmcrest Children’s Center in Syracuse, providing monthly didactics in areas relevant to child abuse and weekly case consultation to staff at the residential treatment center. She also developed and directs the Juvenile Trauma Center which serves children and families who have experienced trauma or severe stress. In addition, Dr. Gordon provides training to the hospital’s doctoral interns, psychiatric and forensic fellows and medical students. She treats clinic and private patients at her office at Upstate. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University and completed an internship in the Child Psychiatry Department at Upstate Medical University.