By Jeremy Loudenback, ChronicleOfSocialChange.org
This month, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities will kick off a multi-million initiative designed to help service providers translate scientific findings around child trauma, toxic stress and developmental brain science into public policy.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Canada-based Palix Foundation have committed $2.2 million over three years for the Alliance, a powerful membership group of youth service providers, to sub-grant to 15 participating nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada interested in leading child trauma-based reform. All sites will be funded $50,000 for two years, and a developmental evaluation will be conducted within the three-year period.
The “Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities” initiative is one of several recent efforts aimed at increasing the policy impact of trauma-related research.
According to Change in Mind Director Jennifer Jones, the 15 organizations will serve as leaders in their communities and across the public sector on how to apply trauma-related practices. While each organization may have a different set of policy and advocacy goals, they will share successful strategies with each other and participate with an outside organization to evaluate effectiveness. The initiative kicks off this month in Chicago with an organizing conference that will help develop collective goals to accompany the specific policy priorities of each site.
The moment is ripe, Jones said, for nonprofit service providers to take a leading role in encouraging adoption of trauma-informed practices.