United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Resilient Lehigh Valley hold trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care at the center of its mission. A trauma-informed community establishes and promotes resiliency so people are healthy enough to value opportunities, realize their potential and promote stable surroundings. At any age, traumatic events have very negative impacts on individual mental health. Developing a family plan, classroom, or workplace with a trauma awareness foundation can help provide more effective care and support. 


What is trauma-informed care? 

Trauma-informed care changes caregivers’ perspectives from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” Being trauma-informed is all about knowing how to recognize negative behavior or reactions that might be affected by trauma. This type of care focuses on understanding and empathizing with a person’s life situation and is typically dubbed trauma-informed. 


Trauma-informed strategies allow caregivers and workplaces to look at tasks and duties differently. In turn, safety, cultural differences, independence, power, and healing are promoted. Making small changes about how we handle trauma can have huge impacts and lessen any further re-traumatization. 


What is trauma-responsive care? 

Trauma-responsive care is applying trauma-informed knowledge to your daily work. To effectively serve a person who has experienced trauma, you must be sensitive to their history and recognize that their trauma may affect how they receive your services or care. 


Trauma-responsive strategies have been developed for schools, homes, workplaces, and more. Keep reading to better understand how to implement trauma-responsive care in each setting. 


Schools – Trauma-informed schools and classrooms create a climate where students feel safe, confident, understood, and peaceful. All schools, no matter the socio-economic status, location, or demographic, have students with exposure to trauma. By supporting trauma-informed strategies in the classroom, students can learn more successfully and form meaningful, supportive relationships with the adults in their school. Strategies include well-communicated emergency protocols, encouragement of staff self-care, and preventative behavior practices. This has a major impact on the development of student’s life skills, like emotional regulation, creativity, and mindfulness. 


The home and caregivers – A key to a trauma-informed home and caregivers is setting up space for connection-building. This might look like limiting phone use at the dinner table so that children and adults can talk to each other more easily or rearranging living room furniture to make conversations more effortless. Parents and guardians can model trauma-informed behavior by normalizing discussions about their feelings and practicing self-care. 


The workplace – A trauma-informed workplace can make a huge difference in someone’s life by giving them a sense of meaning and connection. Managers and work leaders can take extra steps to understand their team members’ individual needs and implement changes to improve experiences for everyone. A trusting and understanding management team contributes to less stress, more energy, higher productivity, less burnout and more satisfaction at work among employees. 

Resilient Lehigh Valley, powered by the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, works daily to make our community resilient and trauma-informed. Trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care looks different for everyone but is rooted in the same principles designed to help people face future adversities and empower them to heal. To learn more about incorporating trauma-informed practices into your school, home, or workplace, click here.

Mental & Emotional Wellness Resource Guide Resources


Organizational Self-Assessment: Adoption of Trauma-Informed Care Practice

The Organizational Self-Assessment is designed for organizations interested in improving their policies, procedures, practices, and social and physical...


Trauma-Informed Organizational Toolkit for Homeless Services

The Toolkit offers homeless service providers concrete guidelines for how to modify their practices and policies to ensure...


Emotional Regulation Plan for Youth in Secondary Grades

Click below to get a copy of our Emotional Regulation plan for youth in Secondary Grades. This emotional...


Emotional Regulation Plan for Children in Third Through Fifth Grade

Click Below to check out this great resource! It’s a great way to teach kids how to emotionally...


Emotional Regulation Plan for Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade

Click below for a detailed Emotional Regulation plan that details guidelines and tips on how to implement this...


Trauma-Informed Toolkit: SEL – Small-Group SEL Facilitation

Social-emotional learning is a great way to build student belonging and community. Check out this toolkit that includes...


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