Advice for Child Trauma Clinicians to Influence Policy
Diane Elmore (bio) explains that policymakers are interested in child trauma and ready to be educated.
Policymakers have so many things on their plate. Obviously there are so many, especially at the national level, so many big issues that they're working on tackling and trying to address, but I do think there is a tremendous interest among federal policymakers and policymakers at all levels around issues of child trauma and issues that children and families are facing. So I think it's a ripe area for a dialogue among policymakers and clinicians.
So there's so much that folks in the child trauma field — experts, mental health providers, folks that are working in schools — have to provide by way of information and awareness-raising with policymakers. You know, we sometimes take for granted that policymakers are well versed on issues of child trauma or school climate and often they're not. And so we have a tremendous role to play in providing education and breaking down for them what it is we do in schools and how what we're doing is working.
If I was going to give some advice to a clinician who was interested in informing the policymaking process, I would say just to get out there, to go where policymakers and their staff may be, at a local town hall meeting, inviting them for a site visit to see what you're doing in your school or in your work with children and families who are impacted by trauma, inviting them in to get a glimpse of the important work that you're doing.
Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.