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September/October 2016Vol. 17, No. 7Webinar on Developing Trauma-Informed Agencies

The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) posted the recording and materials from a webinar that encourages the development of trauma-informed child welfare agencies nationwide, using the experience of the Waupaca County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as its model. The webinar, Becoming a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Agency—The Waupaca County Journey, is the sixth installment in the NCWWI national webinar series designed to "mind the gap" and address workforce challenges impacting child welfare organizations across the country.

Chuck Price, Director of the Waupaca County DHHS, explains in the webinar that DHHS intentionally embraced a new philosophy of infusing trauma-informed care across the agency as opposed to merely launching a new program. DHHS made the recruitment of the "right" leadership team and a hand-picked staff a top priority in developing "a center of excellence" for trauma-informed care. In addition, DHHS drafted a leadership charter for modeling trauma-informed care, including the following nine principles:

  • Partner with clients
  • Be welcoming
  • Respect human rights
  • Be strength based
  • Earn trust
  • Offer a helping hand
  • Promote safety
  • Be person centered
  • Share power

As part of its effort to adopt a trauma-informed culture, DHHS asked all of its staff members to take the Adverse Childhood Experiences personal inventory to help foster empathy between DHHS staff and those they are serving. The webinar emphasizes that agency culture and recruiting "the right people" are essential in bringing about the culture shift necessary to move to a trauma-informed approach, and it offers the following observations:

  • Leadership buy-in is essential.
  • The entire agency must be trauma informed.
  • All partners should be engaged early on.

The webinar shares the activities and trainings that have been offered to DHHS staff to promote professional development and employee retention. To access the webinar recording, PowerPoint presentation, and other webinar materials, visit