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DHS News April 2014     


Trauma-Informed Care Trainings Yield Great Results

A survey of participants in recent Trauma-Informed Care trainings spearheaded by the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) Bureau of Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services, known as the Children’s Team, shows that nearly all participants found the sessions to be extremely useful to them. In addition, one hundred percent of the 80 professionals who participated in three, two-day training sessions agreed with the survey question, “Training content will help me to perform my role” in assisting adults and children.

The Trauma-Informed Care trainings have been conducted for the past six years, with a total of 800 direct-care providers participating to date. The trainings sprang from two conferences organized about seven years ago by the Department of Human Services (DHS) OBH Children’s Team, headed by Administrator Georgianne Palaoro;  the Conference of Allegheny Providers; Community Care Behavioral Health (CCBH); and Allegheny Health Choices Inc.

Those conferences, which drew 600 attendees, were held when it became apparent that more awareness was needed about the possible impact trauma had on children’s mental health. Following the conferences, the trainings were organized because stakeholders at the conferences said there was a need for more in-depth education.

David Vereb, Quality Specialist on the OBH Children’s Team, explained the trainings as a basic course that raises awareness of the need to consider trauma when doing such work as service coordination, program intake or helping to devise solutions for families. The trainings are not clinical trainings; separate workshops that teach clinical interventions and techniques are conducted once a year for clinicians. “It’s a mindset change. It’s digging a little deeper and understanding the impact trauma can have, and discovering there can be something behind behaviors,” David said.

The trainings are conducted by psychotherapist Sharon Sutton at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, South Side. Ms. Sutton is also an adjunct professor at Chatham University and specializes in trauma therapy in her private practice.

“All of the feedback has been very positive,” David said. “People say it’s very applicable to their work.” Ninety-four percent of survey respondents said they would recommend the trainings to others and 99 percent said the presenter seemed knowledgeable about the subject. Ninety-four percent agreed that they learned something at the conferences that they can use in their daily jobs.

Staff members from a wide variety of programs have attended the conferences, including the OBH Student Assistant Program, Adult Justice Related Services, Youth Support Partners, and Community Care Behavior Health. David said beyond increasing awareness of Trauma-Informed Care, the trainings help to build competence in the Allegheny County human services system.

For more on the Trauma-Informed Care trainings, contact David Vereb via email or 412-350-4953.   




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