Wednesday morning, over 120 helping professionals from across the county joined together for a Trauma Informed Care presentation and conference at the Lincoln County Service Center.
According to Lincoln County Department of Social Services Director Renee Krueger, the roots of the event date back to last fall.
“Late last September we held a very similar conference in Wisconsin Dells titled ‘Child Welfare and the Courts,” she explains.
“Our target participation for that conference were professionals who are primarily involved in the court systems such as attorneys, judges, probation and parole agents and of course law enforcement. As part of that conference, Judge (Jay) Tlusty, District Attorney Don Dunphy and I met and discussed how a similar conference might look in our community.”
Krueger soon teamed up with Art Lersch and Amanda Kostman of the county UW-Extension office and organized a committee involving various community groups who expressed an interest in learning more about trauma informed care practices.
Such groups represented in that committee included that of HAVEN, Community Action Program, the local office of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections-Probation & Parole and MAPS. The committee’s first meeting was in February and the fruits of that meeting, as well as their dauntless organizational efforts, were showcased Wednesday morning.
Kicking off the all-day event were guest speakers Debi McGregor from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Nancy Baacke of HAVEN, rendering a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), in summary-negative and possibly traumatic childhood experiences including but not limited to; various forms of abuse, incarceration of family members and drug/alcohol abuse within the household.
While McGregor discussed the effects of such experiences on various stages of development, Baacke elaborated on the possible physical health effects of and resiliency in recovering from ACE, as well as community based resources which are available to assist those who have experienced ACE(s).
Following lunch served by Ballyhoos Eatery of Merrill, the conference re-convened with a powerfully gripping Trauma Informed Care presentation by Colleen Rinken, a Madison based Mental Health Substance Abuse Services Specialist.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s event, Krueger was admittedly very pleased.
“It was a truly remarkable day. We had a tremendous turnout of 132 registrants, in fact we had over 100 register within the first week of registration opening!”
“We had helping professionals from a variety of departments and services, as well as law enforcement present today which is great! That sort of turnout sends a message of professionals being very interested in learning more about trauma informed care. All three of our speakers were fantastic in their delivery of information and their own experiences. They gave a very nice introduction to ACES and trauma informed care practices.” she adds.
“It is my hope participants walked away from the conference truly recognizing the impact of adverse childhood experience on development and also recognizing the idea of anyone can be a leader and champion, in moving trauma informed practice into service delivery.”
Kostman was equally pleased.
“I thought everything went very well! It was encouraging to see a great deal of interaction and conversation among those in attendance. The fact people were talking shows how much of an interest we had in the room, pertaining to the subject matter. I give a lot of credit to our presenters, they did a wonderful job and were very engaging. I’m very excited to try something new in the future, in building on what we learned from this presentation.”
As for her the message she hopes participants received on Wednesday, Kostman stated: “It is my hope participants took with them a sense of mindfulness of other people’s trauma, which they may or may not be aware of and how we act or react to others’ trauma.
“Secondly, I hope participants take into consideration others who have trauma when reviewing their respective policies and procedures.”
Krueger readily admits a possibility for similar conferences in the future and would like to thank conference sponsors; Aspirus, Lincoln County UW-Extension Office, Centre for Well Being, Ministry-Good Samaritan Hospital and Ballyhoos Eatery for providing lunch. Krueger would like to send a special thanks to county administration for their assistance in making Wednesday’s conference possible and the use of the Lincoln County Board room to host the event.