Wisconsin Public Television

Series: Trauma-Informed Care In Wisconsin

Many Wisconsinites have experienced traumas in childhood, but their effects are not universal, nor are their burdens evenly distributed among the state's different communities. Depending on the individual, trauma can have a lifelong impact, affecting behavior, relationships and physical, emotional and mental health. The burden of childhood trauma and the toll it takes on individual lives and public health is attracting more attention by health professionals, educators and caregivers. As a result, public and private organizations around the state are incorporating trauma-informed approaches into their daily work with children and adults. These approaches are part of efforts to transform Wisconsin's human services and justice systems in the hope of providing better outcomes for traumatized individuals and communities.
 
A push to support trauma-informed programming for children continues in Wisconsin. Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley CEO Greg Lempke-Rochon discusses efforts in the state's northeastern region.
Hundreds of children in Wisconsin's child welfare and juvenile justice systems who have complex behavioral health needs are being sent for care to facilities outside of the state — as far away as New Hampshire and New Mexico.
Children who suffer abuse or neglect or who live in dysfunctional homes often carry the burdens of these experiences into adulthood. Behavioral health professionals call these ordeals "adverse childhood experiences," or ACEs.
A sweeping shift over the past few decades in the practice of behavioral health has come to be known as trauma-informed care, an approach adopted by dozens of counties and tribes in Wisconsin.
La Crosse County Division of Health Services director Jason Witt discusses what he describes as a child welfare crisis in Wisconsin. Issues related to the abuse of opioids and methamphetamine are contributing to costs, and local governments agencies are seeking more funding.
A Wisconsin pediatrician is recommending closer attention be paid to what appears to be the slightest injuries on very small children.
Trauma-informed care has been a key policy push in the state and has drawn international attention. Norwegian officials toured a Madison school that incorporates trauma-informed care into their curriculum.
While poverty has long been thought of as an economic problem, officials in Milwaukee are starting to examine the issue through the lens of public health, and refocusing on the health and societal outcomes poverty can have.
Years of misconduct and mismanagement are forcing Wisconsin to make some concrete decisions about how juvenile inmates are treated.
More children and families may receive counseling in response to exposure to gun violence and other trauma as a Milwaukee program expands.