Trauma Informed Care


As defined by Midwest Trauma Services Network

"Trauma informed care is the compilation of the collective science in response to observed consequences of trauma exposure over the last 100 years."


Trauma Informed Care is an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives.

Traumatic experiences can be dehumanizing, shocking or terrifying, singular or multiple compounding events over time, and often include betrayal of a trusted person or institution and a loss of safety. Trauma can result from experiences of violence. Trauma includes physical, sexual and institutional abuse, neglect, intergenerational trauma, and disasters that induce powerlessness, fear, recurrent hopelessness, and a constant state of alert. Trauma impacts one's spirituality and relationships with self, others, communities and environment, often resulting in recurring feelings of shame, guilt, rage, isolation, and disconnection.

Being Trauma Informed means taking the knowledge of how trauma impacts and applying it to our interactions with those we come into relationship with whether at work with clients, co-workers, organizations, community or home with our families.

Although exact prevalence estimates vary, there is a consensus in the field that most consumers of mental health services are trauma survivors and that their trauma experiences help shape their responses to outreach and services. Healing is possible.

Young House Family Services started offiering Trauma Informed Care Training in 2012. We offer Trauma Informed Care workshops, provided by certified Trauma Informed Care Coordinators. The workshop discusses major contributors to a person’s behavior and provides information about the long-term consequences of trauma on individuals and community.


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Beginning in 1994, the "adverse childhood experiences" (ACE) Study, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente assessed the relationship between adult health risk behaviors and childhood abuse and household dysfunction.

Over the last 15 years, research has shown that childhood trauma injures a child’s brain. It impairs the brain’s physical development and function. You can see the effects of trauma on a brain scan. The result: These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) cause kids to have a hard time learning, making friends and trusting adults. They can’t keep up in school, so they shut down or get in fights. They’re the “problem” kids. Schools suspend them. There’s lots of ways for kids to cope with their trauma. Alcohol. Drugs. Smoking. Food. Kids become daredevils and break their bones. Sleep around and get STDs. Grow up too fast and become workaholics.

All this helps numb painful memories. These kids’ coping “drug of choice” – smoking, drinking, food, sex, work – helps them escape from the misery of feeling like failures or that, somehow, they were responsible for the trauma they experienced. It also helps them take the edge off their feelings of isolation and abandonment when our institutions further traumatize them by suspending them from school, by putting them in dysfunctional foster homes, by restraining them or putting them in isolation. Asking them: “What’s wrong with you?” instead of “What happened to you?”

The double whammy of the toxic effects of severe stress on a developing brain and years of coping behaviors — which kids regard as solutions, not problems, even into adulthood — have long-term effects. When they’re adults, the trauma they experienced as a child reaches from the past to deal another cruel blow — chronic diseases that appear when they’re adults. Diabetes. Heart disease. Depression. Lung cancer. The list goes on. The diseases that cost our country billions of dollars economically, and an incalculable cost emotionally.

The more types of childhood trauma a person has, the more likely she or he will have a chronic disease. In other words, the higher your ACE score, the more problems you’ll have as an adult. The ACE Study, which began as a joint research project of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at 10 different types of childhood trauma. These are the five usual suspects: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; physical and emotional neglect. And five types of family dysfunction: a parent who’s an alcoholic or diagnosed mentally ill, a battered mother, a family member in prison, and a parent who disappears through abandonment or divorce.



What is an ACE?

An Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) is defined as experiencing any of the following categories of abuse, neglect, or loss prior to age 18:

  • Physical abuse by a parent
  • Emotional abuse by a parent
  • Sexual abuse by anyone
  • Growing up with an alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household
  • Experiencing the incarceration of a household member
  • Living with a family member experiencing mental illness
  • Domestic violence
  • Loss of a parent
  • Emotional neglect
  • Physical neglect


Trauma Informed Care Trainings

Level 1

Based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES), Trauma Informed Care shifts the question from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?”. Level 1 brings some of the foundational concepts of Trauma Informed Care to an open learning environment to help build a common language around Trauma Informed Care, educate service providers and community members on the impact trauma can have, and provide insight to strategies that help bring healing to those that are hurting.

This workshop discusses major contributors to a person's behavior and provides information about the long-term consequences of trauma on an individual and community. Information will be shared as well as service provider's role as protectors and educators. There will be a discussion of what happens to us as we operate in highly stressful environments and how ,to take care of ourselves Finally, how to engage in and explore concrete processes to stabilize relationships and settings.

This workshop utilizes open discussion storytelling, and engagement strategies to facilitate an open learning environment.

Level 2

Routinely, feedback has shown that personnel who work with populations impacted by high risk environments do not clearly understand the implications of trauma exposure or the behavioral dynamics. Workers and caregivers learn the processes of protecting themselves not only in crisis but over the intermediate and long view in their public service careers. Attendees will build a self-care plan and learn about defining themselves in the work as part of their protection against vicarious trauma.

Trainings can be geared towards any group such as:

Social Service Providers, Criminal Justice agencies, Emergency Personnel (police, fire, emt), Educator's, Administrators, Medical Providers, Mental Health Providers, Church Leaders, Community Leaders, Concerned citizens.

Trauma touches everyone. Join us as we discuss how we can come together as a community to help others heal.

Trauma Informed Coordinators

Stephanie Stubbs


Sara Butler Shoop

As an initiative between the Iowa Child Welfare Training Academy and Midwest Trauma Services Network to build capacity and spread the word of Trauma Informed Care across the state of Iowa, the Training of Facilitator's -Program began in February 2012. Stephanie Stubbs and Sara Butler Shoop were chosen to participate in this program and became the first two participants in the state to complete this process to become Trauma Informed Coordinators. As T.I.C.'s, Stephanie and Sara are certified to deliver Trauma Informed Care Level 1 and Level 2 Trainings.


To Schedule a Trauma Informed Care Training

Please Contact:

Stephanie Stubbs

Sara Butler Shoop




Young House

Family Services

400 S. Broadway Street

Burlington, IA 52601
phone (319) 752-4000

e-mail email


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