Changing the question

 

“What is wrong with her? Why would she react that way? All they have done is show her love and support!”

 

While my mom was reacting to a television show character’s violent response to her foster parents, it is a question that could be asked about any number of the youth in our care. And because of that, I know the answer to the question – trauma.

 

Children removed from their parents and placed in foster care have suffered some form of trauma whether it is through abuse or neglect. Because of these experiences, these vulnerable children often react in ways that doesn’t make sense to those who haven’t experienced their darkness.

 

The push for awareness about the impact of childhood trauma is getting stronger, with key storylines on major network programs and numerous segments on news programs.

 

As Oprah Winfrey shared on a recent segment on 60 Minutes, the question needs to change from “What is wrong with her?” to “What happened to her?” It is a key tenet of trauma-informed care as it makes it clear that the problem is not with the child, but with the experiences that shaped the child.

 

Light the Lake April 10 2018 PosterOne way the awareness is spreading is with the designation of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

 

In recognition of that observation and in conjunction with Pinwheels for Prevention, we will be holding our Sixth Annual Light the Lake Walk for Child Abuse Prevention at 6 p.m. on April 10. As part of this free event, we will be showing the movie Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.

 

I invite you to join us to learn more about why trauma-informed care is such an important part of what we do.

 

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

 

Learn more about Foster Care & Adoption Services at B&GH.

 

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