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Creating A Trauma-Informed Bexar County

CC0 Public Domain

Fifty percent of Texas children ages 17 and under have gone through at least one adverse childhood experience. How can a trauma-informed approach to providing health care, education and other services benefit individuals who experienced trauma at an early age? 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumas experienced by youth that disrupt healthy development and alter the way the brain and body respond to stress.

ACEs can include abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional household situation like substance abuse, mental illness or violence in the home or community. It’s estimated that at least one in seven children have experienced child abuse or neglect within the past year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

ACEs are linked to health problems including depression, anxiety, chronic health conditions, substance abuse and early death, as well as negative social outcomes like a decreased change of succeeding at school.

Trauma-informed care takes into account a person’s history of trauma when providing services. This approach employs principles of safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment to reduce the possibility of re-traumatization and increase the effectiveness of services.

A local collaborative is working to create a more trauma-informed Bexar County by shifting the focus during care from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

What does a trauma-informed approach look like in practice? What are the evidence-based benefits of providing this kind of care?

What are the long-term community effects of generations of people with untreated trauma? What is the best approach for reducing the effects of ACEs for individuals and the community?

Are there any efforts to create policy or pass legislation to address ACEs and trauma-informed care?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, May 8. 

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.