UM to Collaborate Nationally to Address Native Children’s Trauma

March 15, 2018

The agreement followed a four-day series of meetings between leaders of the two agencies on the UM campus.MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s National Native Children’s Trauma Center and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education will collaborate on a plan to help schools develop culturally appropriate, trauma-informed policies, procedures and practices.

Research indicates that exposure to traumatic events and situations is one of the key determinants of physical and mental health in later life, and a trauma-informed approach to providing services can significantly improve outcomes for children. A trauma-informed approach is one that realizes the widespread impact of trauma, understands potential paths for recovery, recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma and responds by integrating trauma knowledge in ways that actively resist re-traumatizing people.

“We are glad to be working with such committed partners to develop trauma-informed schools in Indian Country,” NNCTC Director Maegan Rides at the Door said. “We are most excited that this work will be included in the BIE’s Strategic Plan.”

The BIE is responsible for educating over 40,000 American Indian and Alaska Native children at 183 elementary and secondary schools on 64 reservations in 23 states. The NNCTC is a leading member of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the only center in the network that focuses exclusively on AI/AN populations.

“We are looking forward to working with the National Native Children’s Trauma Center in providing a more precise approach to working with trauma for our students,” said Rose Marie Davis, BIE Associate Director of Tribally Controlled Schools. “It is our hope that the approach will produce an improved class of students, intent on learning and capable of moving on in life with concrete decision-making.”

The agreement between the BIE and the NNCTC came as the result of an intensive four-day series of meetings between leaders of the two agencies on the UM campus recently. The meetings addressed trauma-informed best practices, BIE needs and organizational characteristics, and plans for creating and measuring change across the BIE system.

For more information on the collaboration, call or email Rides at the Door at 406-243-2644 or maegan.ridesatthedoor@mso.umt.edu.

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Contact: Maegan Rides at the Door, director, National Native Children’s Trauma Center at UM, 406-243-2644, maegan.ridesatthedoor@mso.umt.edu.