First Lady Tonette Walker

First Lady Tonette Walker and First Spouses Receive Award for Trauma-Informed Care from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

WASHINGTON D.C. –  First Lady Tonette Walker joined the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Representing 18 first spouses, First Lady Walker received SAMHSA’s Special Recognition Award for their efforts to promote Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) in their respective states. 

“Thank you to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Secretary Azar for this award and recognition,” said First Lady Walker. “Trauma-Informed Care is a critical tool that can improve outcomes for children and families across the country. By coming together to discuss the significance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the power of TIC we are already making a difference. But this is only the beginning. We can, and we will do more because our children can’t wait and everyone has a role to play.” 

In September 2017, First Lady Walker hosted a First Spouses Convening in Milwaukee and welcomed ten first spouses from across the nation to a two-day conference. The event provided attending first spouses with the opportunity to hear from TIC experts about how ACEs affect child welfare and impact a child’s developing brain, discuss ways to incorporate TIC into existing initiatives, and brainstorm next steps moving forward to change outcomes for children and families throughout the United States. 

“Trauma-Informed Care has the ability to change lifelong outcomes for millions of people,” added First Lady Walker. “In Wisconsin, we are working to become the first fully trauma-informed state, and together with the first spouses, we are working to become a trauma-informed nation.” 

First Lady Walker is a strong advocate of TIC. Under her leadership with Fostering Futures, nine of Wisconsin’s state agencies, 20 county human service systems, two tribal nations, one medical college department, and one nonprofit are implementing TIC principles within their interactions with each other as well as in the services they provide the people of Wisconsin. The First Lady was also instrumental in the drafting of House Resolution 443 and Senate Resolution 346, both of which work to increase the promotion and implementation of TIC on the federal level. House Resolution 443 passed the United States House of Representatives in February 2018.

First Lady Walker was also involved in the recent formation of the Trauma-Informed Care Caucus in the United States House of Representatives.  

First Lady Walker participated in SAMHSA’s town hall with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar II. Also in attendance was the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore McCance-Katz, Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians Jacqueline Pata, President of the American Psychiatric Association Altha Stewart, Chief Executive Officers of the American Psychological Association, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Patrick McCarthy. 

The following first spouses also received the award:

  • First Lady Donna Walker (Alaska)
  • First Lady Angela Ducey (Arizona)
  • First Lady Susan Hutchinson (Arkansas)
  • First Lady Diana Rauner (Illinois)
  • First Lady Glenna Bevin (Kentucky)
  • First Lady Donna Edwards (Louisiana)
  • First Lady Yumi Hogan (Maryland)
  • First Lady Lauren Baker (Massachusetts)
  • First Lady Deborah Bryant (Mississippi)
  • First Lady Sheena Greitens (Missouri)
  • First Lady Kristin Cooper (North Carolina)
  • First Gentleman Wade Christensen (Oklahoma)
  • First Lady Linda Daugaard (South Dakota)
  • First Lady Crissy Haslam (Tennessee)
  • First Lady Cecilia Abbott (Texas)
  • First Lady Jeanette Herbert (Utah)
  • First Lady Trudi Inslee (Washington)

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