The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Lifetime Health
“The Deepest Well”, a new book by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., brings new insight to the life-long effects that exposure to adverse childhood experiences can have, while highlighting the growing role of medical science in the understanding and treatment provided by New Directions.
“We are at a very exciting place in time where advances in scientific research are giving us greater understanding of what drives behavior,” says Joseph Gallagher, chief administrative officer. “And this knowledge is helping us create new strategies for helping to prevent and heal the effects of trauma.”
New Directions’ success in integrating Trauma Informed Care into all aspects of agency operations involves training staff in a variety of models, over an extended period of time. The training we provide is tailored to the different roles staff may have in a child’s treatment and care, and allows clinicians to choose from a variety of models the one best suited for them and the youth that they are working with. The agency has also made significant investments in consultations and trainings with nationally known trauma experts, and has formed on-going collaborations with local universities developing trauma informed treatment practices.
“Through our on-going relationship with the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma informed Care, we have engaged a highly-trained clinical consultant to provide guidance on the development of our trauma related practices and to supervise clinicians in the utilization of trauma informed treatment strategies. These clinicians then work with our front line treatment teams to incorporate these practices in their work as well.” says Lynn Siradas, director of foster care and adoption services, and a driving force in the agency’s trauma treatment efforts.
In addition, New Directions has been involved with the UB institute on a collaborative comprised of seven university/agency teams across the country to explore how trauma informed practices are implemented within organizations. Based on annual surveys conducted by the Institute, New Directions is showing significant increases in the number of staff knowledgeable of trauma informed care.
“Clearly, a light is being shone on the path we need to take,” says Gallagher. “and fortunately, we are well prepared to make the journey.”
For more information on the effect of adverse childhood experiences, here are two great resources:
“The Deepest Well”, by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D
Dr. Burke Harris’ Ted Talk (Highly recommended!):
The Ted Radio Hour: How genes and experience collaborate — and compete — to make us who we are.
Campus School Gets Excellent Reviews
New Directions has a wide variety of programs, each of which provides assistance in the most effective way for the people that they serve. The importance of education though, is a core value that is shared throughout the agency. We couldn’t be happier then that the educational services provided by the Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School (HGLCS) and the Wayne E. Secord Therapeutic Preschool at our Lockport campus continue to receive outstanding feedback from the parents of our students. Read More
Families play key role in addressing children’s needs
Helping youth with mental health and behavioral challenges thrive in home and community settings is one of the most challenging issues in our mental health system today. In the past, a child might have been removed from their home simply because few better alternatives were available. Now, however, New Directions Youth and Family Services is participating in a new program that integrates evidence-based High Fidelity Wraparound with the state’s Medicaid Health Homes Serving Children program, to better serve young people ages 12 to 21 with serious emotional disturbances.
The new program, New York State Systems of Care, is supported through a federal grant and is being implemented by the New York State Office of Mental Health, as part of the state’s health care reform efforts. Locally, the Erie County Department of Mental Health is collaborating with various agencies, including New Directions Youth and Family Services, to serve these at-risk children. Erie County was selected in part based on past successes in implementing systems of care initiatives for at risk children, including incorporating youth and family voices into policies and practices.
The program is intended to better serve youth and young adults with the highest and most complex needs in home and community settings. and is based on the evidence-based High Fidelity Wraparound model. National data supports the effectiveness of this model in which families work with a team facilitator to establish their own individual child and family team.