First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney Announces Statewide Partnership at Trauma Awareness Month Kickoff

First Lady also announces first Compassionate Champion Award winners  

DOVER, Del. – At a kickoff event for Trauma Awareness Month in Delaware, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney today announced the launch of a new, growing statewide partnership for trauma-informed care to help elevate stories of the work of leaders in trauma-informed practices and approaches across the state called Trauma Informed Delaware. The goal of the statewide public-private-nonprofit coalition is to coordinate a sustainable system that advances resilience through community-based awareness, trauma prevention, and early intervention.

“Trauma-informed care is a pre-requisite to any effective strength-based strategy,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “Progress starts when a critical mass of people learn and listen, when we recognize – down to our bone marrow – that these are our children, our veterans, our neighbors, and that we are all in this building-the-future business together. Thank you to the all of the people who have been leading trauma-informed work for many years, and to everyone who will be participating in Trauma Awareness Month events.”

“Trauma-informed care is real,” said Tony Allen, Executive Vice President and Provost at Delaware State University, which hosted Wednesday’s kickoff event. “When it is present, it goes to the very heart of practitioners knowing both their clients and themselves, and having a clear belief in the power of Ubuntu – I am because WE are. That is not a warm and fuzzy principle or an interesting catch phrase. It is a guiding principle for anyone of us – teachers, social workers, therapists, law enforcement officers, health care professionals — who work with fellow citizens who face unending challenges that place their mental, physical or spiritual health in peril. At Delaware State University, we are committed to building a cadre of healing professionals across any number of disciplines that understand Ubuntu and put it into practice in everything they do for their profession and their community.”

“Our educators know first-hand that factors outside of the classroom impact how their students learn inside of the classroom, we have been hearing this for years. The creation of this statewide partnership and Trauma Awareness Month are an important first step towards making Delaware trauma-informed,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “We are thankful to have the support of Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting in facing these challenges and helping our students find pathways to resilience.”

Trauma Informed Delaware at will support streamlined requests for trainings, host collaborative convening opportunities, promote partners and events from across the state, and offer those supports and other forms of assistance through promotion of and advocacy for:

  • Access to quality behavioral and integrated health care.
  • Strength-based services for youth and adults.
  • Education for providers and the community.

Wednesday’s kickoff event was coordinated by Governor Carney’s Family Services Cabinet Council, which was charged with promoting Trauma Awareness Month as part of the Governor’s Executive Order 24. The Council also created an online calendar to share information with state employees, community partners, and members of the public on educational and professional development opportunities related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and building resilience.

“At the Children’s Department, we know that many of our clients come to us with a history of trauma,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families. “We also know that our staff, tasked with helping the most vulnerable children, also suffer trauma. Today, we all came together as a community to learn how we can become more trauma informed to better serve our children and families and how to take care of each other as we do it. We are looking forward to a month of activities focused on building resilience both inside and outside of our Department.”

“During the past year, more than 1,000 Department of Health and Social Services employees with the greatest level of direct client contact have been trained in a trauma-informed approach,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and a board-certified family physician. “We are building a workforce that understands what trauma is, how it affects people across their lifespans, and the most effective ways that we can assess and meet our clients’ needs. Having a trauma-informed workforce is a critical step in supporting and promoting recovery for our clients who have experienced trauma so they can build resilience and learn to thrive in their communities.”

“Toxic stress in childhood can have a profound and lasting impact on the lifelong health and well-being of a child, well into adulthood. Early intervention is key to reducing this risk,” said Lee Pachter, DO, Medical Director, General Pediatrics at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. “Nemours is pleased to be part of a state-wide initiative bringing together experts in the field to help give our kids the resources they need to mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).”

During the day-long symposium at Delaware State University, the First Lady also announced the Compassionate Champion Award winners and presented a proclamation from Governor Carney. The honorees are:

  • Stephanie Sklodowski from Christiana Care and Christiana School District’s Newark High School Wellness Center.

  • Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Psychology Department.

  • Renée Beaman, Director of the Division of State Service Centers in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

  • Division of State Services Centers in DHSS.

  • Georgetown Police Department.

  • Shue-Medill Middle School.

  • Smyrna School District.

  • Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

  • Wendy Turner from Brandywine School District.

  • Ryan Palmer from Caesar Rodney School District.

  • Collaborative Partnership to promote trauma-informed care approaches, including United Way of Delaware, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education and the Wilmington Community Advisory Council.

The symposium featured an interactive panel moderated by DHSS Secretary Walker and breakout sessions on the neuroscience of stress, navigating trauma with boys of color, mindfulness and a screening of the film, “Broken Places.” Keynote speakers Heather Forbes, LCSW and author of “Help for Billy,” talked about understanding challenging and difficult behaviors, and Dr. Abdul-Malik Muhammad, Ed.D, a trauma-informed care leader in Delaware, addressed the collective power to heal.

The event was sponsored by the Delaware State Education Association, made possible through a grant from National Education Association, and co-sponsored by Trauma Matters Delaware, Nemours, Wilmington University and Delaware State University.


Governor Carney Announces Trauma-Informed Initiatives

Family Services Cabinet Council launches Compassionate Champion Award, Trauma Awareness Month Planning

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced two new initiatives from the Family Services Cabinet Council to implement Executive Order 24, which launched efforts to make Delaware a trauma-informed state. The Family Services Cabinet Council – a cabinet-level group reestablished by Governor Carney in February 2017 to coordinate public and private services for Delaware families – will promote Trauma Awareness Month throughout Delaware during May 2019 and launch the Compassionate Champion Award, a recognition program for champions of this work.

“We need to do everything we can to support children and families in Delaware who are affected by trauma in their lives,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware has many dedicated, boots-on-the-ground workers and organizations that are practicing trauma-informed care and helping Delawareans get the services they need. We are committed to working together to support, promote, and recognize more of these efforts to help build stronger, healthier and more trauma-informed communities across our state.”

Learn more about the Family Services Cabinet Council:

The Compassionate Champion Award is a new trauma-informed care recognition program to highlight outstanding achievement by individuals and organizations that provide trauma-informed services.

This award will recognize individuals or teams in government, non-profit and private organizations, first responder professions, education, and other agencies that have taken steps toward providing services in a manner consistent with trauma-informed care criteria in the Delaware Developmental Framework for Trauma Informed Care, a document that outlines best practices for trauma-informed care. The Framework was adapted from the Missouri Model of trauma-informed care, and was produced in collaboration by the Family Services Cabinet Council ACEs Subcommittee and the Compassionate Connections Partnership.

The Compassionate Champion Award nomination form is now available, and the deadline to apply is April 1, 2019. Nominations may also be submitted by downloading the application  found on the Compassionate Champion Award webpage and emailing the form to, or mailing it to Compassionate Champion Award, Office of the Governor – Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, 12th Floor, Wilmington, DE 19801.

“The Children’s Department is pleased to be on the frontline of Delaware’s efforts to become a trauma-informed state,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families. “Adverse childhood experiences can have life altering impacts if they are not recognized and addressed properly. The Compassionate Champion Award will help recognize the important work that is being done every day in Delaware to help increase awareness and mitigate the impact of trauma on our children, families and communities.”

“We must support our educators by providing the training and resources they need to be better informed about of the effects of trauma on students,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Recent state-sponsored professional development has offered educators the chance to learn more about the research around childhood trauma and the effect of toxic stress on brain development. Our hope is that such training will translate into their more effectively supporting those who have been impacted by trauma.”

“Awareness of trauma is a critical step in supporting and promoting recovery for Delawareans, young people and adults, who have experienced trauma in their lives,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician and Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. “At the Department of Health and Social Services, we have trained 1,000 employees who have the greatest level of direct client contact in the trauma-informed approach. A workforce that understands what trauma is, how it affects people across their lifespans, and the most effective ways to assess and meet our clients’ needs will help us build resilience among the people we serve so they learn to thrive in their communities.”

The Family Services Cabinet Council also invites members of the public to participate in planning for Trauma Awareness Month happening this May. Organizations and individuals involved with trauma-informed care are encouraged to submit event ideas for Trauma Awareness Month, and information for trauma-related events already scheduled in May, using an online form.

Events submitted before March 15, 2019 will be reviewed and added to a digital calendar that is shared with the public prior to Trauma Awareness Month to promote trainings, workshops and other events.

Members of the public who would like to be involved with Trauma Awareness Month planning are invited to attend the Trauma Awareness Month Steering Group’s public meetings on February 20, and March 20, 2019. The meeting details will be listed on Delaware’s public meeting calendar.

In October 2018, Governor Carney signed Executive Order 24, making Delaware a trauma-informed state and providing direction for the Family Services Cabinet Council to help mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and build resilience in children, adults and communities.

Find more information about the Family Services Cabinet Council, the Compassionate Champion Award, and Trauma Awareness Month here:


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