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Caddo Juvenile Services’ trauma-informed care used as statewide model for LDH youth, families initiative

(KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Health announced that it will adopt a statewide approach to preventing and addressing trauma across all child-serving agencies.


Whole Health Louisiana is the state’s first attempt at addressing childhood adversity and trauma through the integration of trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches in the state’s systems that serve children, families, and communities.


LDH will continue to foster and develop private and public sector partnerships over the next five years in hopes of implementing and sustaining the plan long-term.


Trauma-informed care is intended to help care providers aid patients in identifying their trauma and understanding the significance of trauma in their lives. Usually, those who have experienced trauma do not draw connections between their trauma histories and their present problems, or they completely avoid the topic, according to the National Institute of Health.


Collaboration, awareness, prevention and healing, and workforce are priorities for the initiative.


LDH also looked at real-world evidence from other parts of the country that showed positive results of integrating trauma-informed approaches that focus on prevention. They list everything from juvenile diversion programs that decreased arrests in Philadelphia and decreased youth suicides in Cowlitz County, WA.


Shreveport used as state’s trauma-informed care case study


According to the report, Chief Justice of the Caddo Juvenile Court Judge David Matlock played a pivotal role in moving Shreveport toward trauma-informed care for young people.

The report describes the parish’s child welfare system as often reactive and focused primarily on addressing the symptoms of trauma rather than preventing it prior to moving toward TIC.

Matlock used his significant influence to rally key decision-makers around the importance of addressing childhood trauma and mitigating intergenerational trauma.


Four key areas of focus employed by Caddo Juvenile Services were listed as:

  • Screening, assessment, and referral.

  • Treatment capacity and training of staff.

  • Caregiver training group

  • Multi-disciplinary interventions for specific trauma-related cases.

LDH also credits those who pushed for the switch to trauma-informed care in Caddo Parish with strategic planning among the groups and outreach partnerships with providers of youth intervention programs.


Positive outcomes include a reduction in school suspensions, a 93.5% reduction in behavioral incidents, decrease in truancy.

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