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FCRHA Commits to a Trauma-Informed Workplace

Staff at HCD are a Part of the Trauma-Informed Care Network (TICN) in Fairfax County

In November 2017, the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County passed a resolution designating Fairfax County a Trauma Informed Community.  All Health and Human service agencies in Fairfax County have committed to using a trauma-informed lens when interacting with our customers and to implementing policies and procedures that acknowledge and are sensitive to the widespread trauma exposure among the children, families and individuals we serve.  In addition, agencies are tasked with changing and/or eliminating policies and procedures that may result in re-traumatization.  Our community also understands that working with populations who have experienced/are experiencing high levels of trauma puts our direct service staff at risk of experiencing high stress levels and secondary or vicarious trauma. We seek to understand the expanding research that has been done in this area, to raise awareness and develop shared language around trauma, and to respond in a supportive way to the needs of both our residents and our employees.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), are active members of Fairfax County’s Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN), a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency collective that meets regularly to support trauma-informed care initiatives across the county.  We are engaged in this work at HCD and are participating in several ways.  In November 2016, three representatives from HCD attended a county-wide training facilitated by the TICN called Taking the Lead: Effectively Supporting Leaders in High-Stress, Trauma-Exposed Workplaces.  As a result of this training, HCD is working to integrate concepts of trauma-informed care into our organizational culture. We have created an organizational change plan that we seek to implement over the next several years, focusing on three areas of development/change:  1) staff training, 2) peer support, and 3) promoting policies, procedures, and practices that are in line with the principles of trauma-informed care.  We are working closely with the TICN to collaborate on best practices and to utilize the wealth of knowledge and resources that are available through the network.

 In 2018-2019, HCD has been invited to share our organizational change plan and engagement in trauma-informed care work on both local and national levels.  We presented on panels at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s annual conference; Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA)’s fall membership meeting (co-presentation with Chrissy Cunningham, Coordinator of the Fairfax County TICN); Fairfax County’s Fall Forum for county employees; and the annual Moving to Work conference.  HCD was also represented on a multi-agency team from Fairfax County, who attended the first state-wide Trauma and Resilience Summit in Richmond, VA on April 25th. Staff from the FCRHA’s PROGRESS Center are spearheading this initiative at HCD and have also been a part of launching a subcommittee of the TICN focused on housing-specific work and trauma-informed care in the wider housing community with our partner agencies and community-based organizations. 

“The Fairfax County Trauma-Informed Community Network is thrilled to be among the first TICNs in the state to have our partners from housing engaged in moving this work forward with us. To create a trauma-informed service delivery environment across our community, we need to have everyone at the table, and we are excited about the opportunity to build the capacity of the housing workforce to support county residents through a trauma-informed lens.”  -Chrissy Cunningham, Coordinator of Fairfax County’s Trauma-Informed Community Network, Neighborhood and Community Services Prevention Unit
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