On June 17, 2019, 300 local educators, social workers, police officers, and others gathered in support of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley‘s Resilient Lehigh Valley initiative.
All in attendance learned about the pervasiveness of traumatic experiences within the community, and the many ways in which trauma can manifest itself. KingSpry proudly sponsored the conference.
Attorneys from KingSpry attended the conference to support the initiative. Each brought back tools to enrich our ability to assist clients in a range of practice areas – Dorota Kozak, adoption and assisted reproductive technology; Karley Sebia, business; Ryan Fields, estate planning and administration, and Rebecca Young, foster care and adoption, guardianship, special education, and education.
The training provided an overview of what it means to provide trauma-informed responses to these individuals. Partnering with the Lakeside Global Institute, Resilient Lehigh Valley plans to offer ongoing trainings to community agencies.
The day also included a simulation of a month in the life of a family trying to access community-based supports and services.
Spoiler alert: not many gained access to supports and services within the allotted time.
My character was a 3-year-old, and what my imagined character learned was this: It is important to stand in the right line the first time, even though nobody tells you which one is the right line. It is important for parents to come back on time, otherwise the child has to go to foster care. In foster care, nobody wants to play with you, and nobody wants to look at your drawings. My drawing got lost so I couldn’t show it to my dad when he finally picked me up. I think my dad was doing his best, but everything costs a lot of money, and you have to decide whether to go to probation or counseling depending on how long the line is and whether you have enough money.
Most of the attendees work within “the system” every day. Their experience of the simulation was similar to mine, with the additional insight that the workers at each station were also frustrated with the limits of what they could offer, and the difficulty with coordination of services.
At the end of the day, Beth Tomlinson (Sr. Director of Education for United Way of the Lehigh Valley) sent us off with a challenge to continue to support the initiative to create a more resilient community.
heARTbeat is a publication of KingSpry’s Adoption Law and Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Practice Group. It is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal advice.