First Lady Tonette Walker

First Lady Walker touts listening sessions for trauma-informed care

By Matt Montgomery, WTMJ 620, April 24, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker is trying to raise awareness and end the cycle of harm for children in Wisconsin through listening sessions.

First Lady Walker told Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure on Newsradio 620 WTMJ that the listening sessions, part of trauma-informed care, are meant to shift the way people handle traumatic stress in kids.

According to the first lady's website, "The first lady is working in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and various private organizations to better recognize, understand, and address the effects of trauma on the lives of children and families in Wisconsin."

She told Wisconsin's Afternoon News the program tries to shift the perspective from "what's wrong with you" to "what happened to you."  Walker said this program has been around a while, but she wanted to make it a priority after having "aha moment" when talking with a friend and a doctor to talk about trauma-informed care.

The listening sessions are meant to break through social barriers by having foster parents, social workers, and people working in the system talk about the best ways to listen and work with kids dealing with trauma, announced Walker.

Walker said she's hearing from people from every child care system: corrections, welfare, foster care, etc -- and she said the listening sessions are making a positive impact on kids’ lives.

She said the goal of the program is to establish the Wisconsin as a national leader in the trauma-informed care movement.

Article link: http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/148764755.html