San Antonio Health Department Budgets for City’s First Trauma-Informed Position

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San Antonio approved funding for the city’s first ever position dedicated to addressing and preventing childhood trauma and toxic stress.

Nationwide, schools, communities, organizations and municipal agencies are working to better help the 46% of youth who have suffered an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

For example, in Newark, New Jersey, Equal Justice USA is working with the Newark Police to teach policy and civilians how trauma impacts their daily lives, and in San Francisco, California, pediatricians are working community mental health providers in schools to address childhood trauma and reunification stress among unaccompanied immigrant children.

Unfortunately, efforts like these often lack the coordinated, community-wide network needed to reach children and families through various stages across the lifespan.

The City of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) created a new position to do just that and included the position in the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Proposed Budget.

San Antonio (68% Latino) has one of the highest rates of child abuse/neglect and domestic violence in the state, according to The Children’s Shelter who hosted the inaugural South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Conference which lead to the creation of the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium.

Inaugural South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Conference on Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11, 2018.
Inaugural South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Conference on Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11, 2018.

The director of Metro Health, Dr. Colleen Bridger, is one of three chairs of the consortium working to mitigate the effects of ACEs across 11 sectors:

  • Education/Pre K-12
  • Early Care and Education Birth – 4
  • Child Welfare/Foster Care
  • Mental/Behavioral Health
  • Medical/Hospital/Clinic
  • Justice System
  • Local Government
  • Funding Partners
  • Youth Development/Afterschool
  • Faith Based/Churches
  • Family Support Services

In September 2018, the FY 2019 Adopted Budget was approved, allocating $68,000 in new funding for a Metro Health position dedicated to increasing community understanding of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and to provide facilitation and support to the newly formed Trauma-Informed Consortium.

The new position will develop multi-tired approaches and coordinate collaborative efforts by partners to become certified as trauma-informed care organizations, and implement strategies that are known to reduce ACEs, with the long term goal of decreasing chronic diseases in adults and improving community health. Additionally, the new position will conduct research, analyze complex statistical data, develop planning timetables, evaluate systems policies and procedures, and make recommendations to achieve goals and objectives.

Search for similar efforts in your community and get involved.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

28

percent

of Latino kids suffer four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

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