Frontline Initiative Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-Informed Care:
Resource and initiatives in the state of Michigan


Ann Carrellas, L.M.S.W. is a Research Associate at the Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her work focuses on practices that reducethe risk of violence for persons with disabilities and she is the chair of the State of Michigan Fetal AlcoholSpectrum Disorders (FASD) Task Force and is currently working toward a Social Work at Wayne State.

As in every state, Michigan DSPs deal daily with the aftermath of the abuse of persons with disabilities. Persons we serve may not be able to say if they were abused or are currently experiencing trauma. However we may detect when someone we work with shows signs of trauma. These may include significant changes in mood, behavior, sleep patterns, eating, and difficulties in relationships with others. People who are providing direct, daily supports are in a unique position to use trauma-informed care.

The Michigan Department of Community Health focuses on integrating trauma-informed care in the provision of mental health services. This includes understanding how to best support people with IDD. The Michigan Department of Human Services has also infused trauma-informed practices in their services to children who are served in child welfare agencies.

The Children’s Trauma Assessment Center (CTAC) at Western Michigan University is a major player. Their staff assesses children entering foster care and also other children exposed to traumatic events. CTAC currently has federal grants to work with Michigan communities including Detroit, Flint, and Kalamazoo to develop evidence-based practices. These are designed to reduce the impact of violence and trauma on children and youth and to increase their resiliency. Trauma-Informed Care Resources and initiatives in the state of Michigan

Finally, we note a collaborative with the Arc Michigan, the Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. They use a traumainformed approach. Their mission is to develop safe and effective service delivery for individuals with disabilities who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.