First Lady Tonette Walker

First Lady Walker: Trauma-Informed Care Can Help Wisconsin Children Impacted by the Opioid Crisis

Thursday, May 3, 2018

MANITOWOC – First Lady Tonette Walker today discussed the power of Trauma-Informed Care in helping children affected by the opioid epidemic. First Lady Walker was a featured speaker at Representative Paul Tittl’s (R—Manitowoc) “In the Best Interest of the Children” Summit, which draws attention to the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on families and the foster care system in Wisconsin.

“Growing up with a family member suffering from opioid addiction can create Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) for Wisconsin’s children and young adults,” said First Lady Walker. “ACEs create toxic stress that affects the brain’s development which can lead to lifelong mental and physical health issues. Through Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) we can help Wisconsin’s children overcome whatever ACEs they have experienced, whether it’s from exposure to the opioid epidemic, domestic abuse, or something entirely different.”

Under the First Lady’s 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.  

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

“Families in Wisconsin and across the United States are witnessing the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on children,” said Representative Tittl, who worked with three local grandmothers to organize the event. “I am grateful to the First Lady for sharing her expertise on ACEs and Trauma-Informed Care in my community. Her advocacy is moving Wisconsin Forward.”

Since entering office, Governor Scott Walker has signed 30 bipartisan bills into law to address the opioid epidemic. TIC can help Wisconsin’s youth and families overcome additional obstacles as result of the opioid crisis.

Governor Walker declared May as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month and May 22 as Trauma-Informed Care Day throughout the great State of Wisconsin.