How did a trauma-informed approach transform Washington state?

From the late 1990s, Washington state ran an initiative to set up community networks in various areas across its region. From 2001 onwards, it made addressing ACEs and trauma a key priority in this work. Over the course of 10 years, the results they achieved were staggering, including:

  • reduced rates of 7 major social problems (child abuse and neglect, family violence, youth violence, youth substance abuse, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy and youth suicide)
  • lower caseload costs in child welfare, juvenile justice and public medical costs associated with births to teenage mothers, calculated to save over $601 million
  • saved an average of $120 million per year for a public investment of $3.4 million per year


Why are we talking about a case study from the USA?

The USA has the same social problems that we have in the UK, with 1 in 5 children being abused and/or neglected during their lifetime, and similar degrees of social dysfunction and negative life outcomes. Levels of investment in the prevention of child maltreatment in both countries have, for many decades, been fixed at between 3-5% of all money spent on children. This figure is far too low.


Is anyone running trauma-informed community projects in the UK?

Until 2018, most of the UK had never heard of trauma-informed approaches, never mind trauma-informed communities. Yet since then, interest in this approach has sky-rocketed, with many local authorities and community activists across all four nations beginning the journey towards this goal.

In April 2018, we launched the Trauma-informed Communities (TiC) project in partnership with 70/30 ambassadors, other community champions and third sector organisations rooted in their local areas. From Orkney to Kent, Cumbria to Belfast and Warrington to Reading, we have been supporting these activists to transform their communities for the better. You can find out more about this project here.


The 70/30 Campaign is now seeking donors and supporters to expand the work being done in the existing TiC areas and to support more campaigns across the UK. If you would like to donate towards this cause, click here to support us.