Durbin, Capito, Duckworth, Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Rise From Trauma Act To Address Childhood Trauma

The legislation would expand support for children who have experienced trauma and address the cycle of violence and addiction

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), along with U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, including witnessing community violence, parental addiction, or abuse. The Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act dramatically increases funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, and it expands training and workforce development efforts to support health care, education, social services, first responders, and community leaders to foster resilience and deliver services to heal the impact of trauma.

 “While we work to effectively address the root causes of violence and addiction in our communities, we must also focus on the ripple effect that exposure to violence and traumatic experiences has on our children and their future,” said Durbin. “Unaddressed trauma can harm mental and physical health, life expectancy, school success, and employment.  The bipartisan RISE from Trauma Act invests in communities and our workforce to support children and families facing trauma to heal their emotional scars and build a brighter future.”

“I am pleased to continue my work with Senator Durbin to address the impact of trauma on children. Our Rise from Trauma Act builds on the work we have done together over the past several years and reflects the needs I continue to hear from West Virginians across the state,” Capito said. “By aiming to increase resources for our communities and taking steps to expand our trauma-informed workforce, we are helping to prevent future substance abuse and violence, provide assistance and hope to our most vulnerable, and empower our next generation.”

“Far too many people across our country have been forced to deal with the harmful impact of violence and addiction in their communities and many have lost family members, friends and neighbors to senseless violence and to addiction themselves,” said Duckworth. “We need to do everything we can to ensure those who grieve or have endured trauma are able to receive the care and support they need, especially children who have been affected at such a formative age. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bipartisan bill to provide more resources for communities where they are needed most.”

“While our goal should be that no child is exposed to trauma, we know the reality is a different story. And unfortunately, there is a proven a link between a child’s exposure to trauma – such as domestic violence or parental substance abuse – and its long-term impact on their behavioral development. We have a responsibility to ensure children have the support and resources they need to live safe, happy, healthy lives, and that’s why I’m helping introduce this legislation,” said Murkowski.

U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL-07) will soon introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives to continue his bipartisan leadership on this issue.

Nationwide, nearly 35 million children have had at least one traumatic experience, and nearly two-thirds of children have been exposed to violence. A recent study found that nearly 60 percent of the youngest children in Chicago lived in neighborhoods that accounted for 91 percent of homicides. Far too many children carry the emotional weight of community violence and other traumatic experiences, such as the daily stress of abuse or neglect at home, a parent battling addiction, or an incarceration or a deportation of a loved one. Trauma can create stress on the developing brain and force children into constant “survival mode”, impacting the way they process fear or form healthy relationships. Decades of research, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have established the link between a child’s exposure to trauma, its effect on neurological and behavioral development, and long-term negative outcomes. In fact, studies show that individuals who have experienced six or more ACEs have a 20 year shorter average life expectancy, and those who have experienced four or more ACEs are ten times more likely to use illicit narcotics and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.  Yet only a small fraction of the children in need of support to address trauma receive such care.   

The RISE from Trauma Act builds upon the conclusions published in a 2019 GAO reportrequested by Durbin and Davis and calls for increased resources and trauma-informed workforce for communities to support children who have experienced trauma.  

The RISE from Trauma Act would expand the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system, and increase resources for communities to address the impact of trauma. Specifically, the bill: 

  • Creates a new, $600 million HHS grant program to fund community-based coalitions that coordinate stakeholders and deliver targeted local services to address trauma;
  • Creates a new HHS grant program to support hospital-based trauma interventions, such as for patients that suffer violent injuries, to address mental health needs, prevent re-injury, and improve long-term outcomes; 
  • Increases funding for the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, in order to recruit more mental health clinicians—including from under-represented populations—to serve in schools;
  • Enhances federal training programs at HHS, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Education to provide more tools for early childhood clinicians, teachers, school leaders, first responders, and community leaders; and
  • Reauthorizes four critical federal programs that Durbin, Capito, Murkowski, and Davis helped to pass in 2018: the Interagency Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the CDC’s ACEs Data Collection program, and SAMHSA’s Trauma Support in Schools grant  program. In Fiscal Year 2023, these four programs received $117 million in federal funding to support trauma research, training, coordination, and mental health services, a $20 million increase from the prior year. 

The legislation is endorsed by the following organizations: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, YMCA of the USA, National PTA, Zero to Three, Futures without Violence, National Head Start Association, Center for Law and Social Policy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice, YWCA, American Psychiatric Association, Trust for America’s Health, Family Focused Treatment Association, Afterschool Alliance, Committee for Children, Girls Inc., MENTOR, National Crittenton, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives, Center for Community Resilience, and the National Education Association.