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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 33: Human Services

Chapter 034: Promotion of Child and Family Resilience

  • § 3401. Principles for Vermont’s trauma-informed system of care

    The General Assembly adopts the following principles with regard to strengthening Vermont’s response to trauma and toxic stress during childhood:

    (1) Childhood trauma affects all aspects of society. Each of Vermont’s systems addressing trauma, particularly social services; health care, including mental health; education; child care; and the justice system, shall collaborate to address the causes and symptoms of childhood trauma and to build resilience.

    (2) Addressing trauma in Vermont requires building resilience in those individuals already affected and preventing childhood trauma within the next generation.

    (3) Early childhood adversity is common and can be prevented. When adversity is not prevented, early intervention is essential to ameliorate the impacts of adversity. A statewide, community-based, interconnected, public health and social service approach is necessary to address this effectively. This model shall include training for local leaders to facilitate a cultural change around the prevention and treatment of childhood trauma.

    (4) Service systems shall be integrated at the local and regional levels to maximize resources and simplify how systems respond to individual and family needs. All programs and services shall be evidence-informed and research-based, adhering to best practices in addressing trauma and promoting resilience. (Added 2017, No. 43, § 2.)

  • § 3402. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) “Childhood adversity” means experiences that may be traumatic to children and youths during the first 18 years of life, such as experiencing violence or other emotionally disturbing exposures in their homes or communities.

    (2) “Resilience” means the ability to respond to, withstand, and recover from serious hardship with coping skills and a combination of protective factors, including a strong community, family support, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and social and emotional competence of children.

    (3) “Toxic stress” means strong, frequent, or prolonged experience of adversity without adequate support.

    (4) “Trauma-informed” means a type of program, organization, or system that recognizes the widespread impact of trauma and potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved in a system; responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and seeks actively to resist retraumatization and build resilience among the population served. (Added 2017, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

  • § 3403. Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development

    (a) There is created the permanent position of Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development within the Office of the Secretary in the Agency of Human Services for the purpose of directing and coordinating systemic approaches across State government that build childhood resiliency and mitigate toxic stress by implementing a public health approach. The Director shall engage families and communities to build the protective factors of a strong community, family support, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and the social and emotional competence of children. It is the intent of the General Assembly that the Director position be funded by the repurposing of existing expenditures and resources, including the potential reassignment of existing positions. If the Secretary determines to fund this position by reassigning an existing position, he or she shall propose to the Joint Fiscal Committee prior to October 1, 2018 any necessary statutory modifications to reflect the reassignment.

    (b) The Director shall:

    (1) provide advice and support to the Secretary of Human Services and facilitate communication and coordination among the Agency’s departments with regard to childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the promotion of resilience building;

    (2) collaborate with both community and State partners, including the Agency of Education and the Judiciary, to build consistency between trauma-informed systems that address medical and social service needs and serve as a conduit between providers and the public;

    (3) provide support for and dissemination of educational materials pertaining to childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the promotion of resilience building, including to postsecondary institutions within Vermont’s State College System and the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College;

    (4) coordinate with partners inside and outside State government, including the Child and Family Trauma Work Group;

    (5) evaluate the statewide system, including the work of the Agency and the Agency’s grantees and community contractors, that addresses resilience and trauma-prevention;

    (6) evaluate, in collaboration with the Department for Children and Families and providers addressing childhood adversity prevention and resilience building services, strategies for linking pediatric primary care with the parent-child center network and other social services;

    (7) coordinate the training of all Agency employees on childhood adversity, toxic stress, resilience building, and the Agency’s Trauma-Informed System of Care policy and post training opportunities for child care providers, afterschool program providers, educators, and health care providers on the Agency’s website; and

    (8) serve as a resource in ensuring new models used by community social service providers are aligned with the State’s goals for trauma-informed prevention and resilience. (Added 2017, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 2019, No. 52, § 3.)