Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) implementation within Pennsylvania’s overarching system of care partnership is creating numerous new opportunities for schools at the center of their communities. This strategy is generating great benefits for comprehensive approaches to address the consequential role of trauma in the lives of local students and their families in several school districts throughout Crawford and Lehigh counties.
Peace4Crawford is a locally generated initiative promoting profound social change throughout a small, rural county in northwestern Pennsylvania. Based on a collective assessment of local needs in the early phases of the SS/HS effort, an instrumental group of citizens, human service professionals, and community leaders has invested in a broad commitment to reinvent their county as a fully trauma-informed community.
Peace4Crawford is developing resources and programs to prevent, identify, and treat consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in Crawford County. This county of 86,000 residents has already provided training on trauma to over 4,000 individuals including many community stakeholders. Many of those trainings were facilitated and supported through partnerships among Crawford County Human Services, its four local school districts, and its juvenile probation office. Exemplifying this local capacity building, Peace4Crawford provided the community’s third annual trauma-informed and resilient communities conference at Edinboro State University in fall 2016, reaching more than 275 participants. Local school districts are preparing to pilot tools from a new trauma-sensitive schools training package in the upcoming 2017-18 school year.
This modest community’s initiative has been called out as a national example to illustrate both the many challenges involved in building capacity as a trauma-informed community and what can be accomplished by a committed and cohesive group of collaborative community partners. In December 2016, the Peace4Crawford community initiative was featured at U.S. Senate hearings to inform the subsequently enacted 21st Century Cures Act.
“We envision a healthy and resilient community, a community where everyone – from our students to our elders --
is valued, respected, safely cared for, and treated compassionately.”
— Joe Barnhart, Manager, Crawford County PA System of Care
For more information, see the Peace4Crawford website.