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May 26, 2022

The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County continues to invest resources to equip the region’s mental health providers with access and training to ensure the services available to residents are trauma-informed and trauma-competent. A particular area of focus, together with Judge Karen DeSanto-Kellogg, is to bring the principles of trauma-informed care into the Juvenile Court, Juvenile Probation, and those systems working closely with the court. Since Judge DeSanto-Kellogg’s election, she has taken steps to integrate trauma-informed principles into how the court and those interacting with the court operate.

What Does It Mean to Be Trauma-Informed?
A court system that is trauma-informed follows these six core principles:

Safety: Throughout the organization, patients and staff feel physically and psychologically safe

Trustworthiness and Transparency: Decisions are made with transparency and with the goal of building and maintaining trust

Peer Support: Individuals with shared experiences are integrated into the organization and viewed as integral to service delivery

Collaboration: Power differences—between staff and clients and among organizational staff—are leveled to support shared decision-making

Empowerment: Patient and staff strengths are recognized, built on, and validated—this includes a belief in resilience and the ability to heal from trauma

Humility and Responsiveness: Biases and stereotypes (e.g., based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, geography) and historical trauma are recognized and addressed

How Ashland’s Juvenile Court System Is Becoming Trauma-Informed
To make a more trauma-informed court requires training, conversations, and ongoing education for counselors, judges, social workers, and others who come into contact with juveniles in the court system. Partnering with Sherry Bouquet and Fostering Family Ministries, Judge DeSanto-Kellogg brought in the Honorable Carole W. Clark, Retired Judge of 321st State District Court of Texas, for a two-day training on “Challenges & Opportunities in a Trauma Competent Court System.”

Members of the Board and staff from all three of the Board’s contract partner agencies were present to learn first-hand what wisdom Judge Clark’s team had for our county. The Board also supported the training by offering continuing education to counselors and social workers who attended.

Trainings like these build upon past work throughout Ashland County to integrate trauma-informed care into the systems throughout our area. Five years ago, the Board offered community-wide training on adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, an important building block in developing a trauma-informed care system. Additionally, Sherry Bouquet and Fostering Family Ministries have been conducting Trust-Based Relational Intervention or TBRI training for several years. TBRI is a critical evidence-based approach that works with persons with trauma histories safely and effectively.

We’re pleased to partner with and support Judge DeSanto-Kellogg’s efforts to address the systemic changes necessary for the courts to become trauma-informed. As Ashland becomes increasingly trauma-informed, we become a more sensitive, compassionate, and caring community where families and the health of our community are both strengthened to the benefit of all.

Learn more about trauma-informed courts in Ashland County or browse our extensive list of resources on trauma-informed care to take the next step in your organization.

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