Previous Newsletters & Blog Posts

To sign up for the FACT Family Fridge Newsletter, please email

Person-Centered Trauma-Informed Care in Virginia Nursing Facilities

May 14, 2019

Nursing facility Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) staff often experience high on-the-job stress, vicarious trauma, and childhood or post-traumatic stress disorder from life events that impact their health, well-being, and job performance and satisfaction. Likewise, people living in nursing facilities may also experience various types of trauma and loss ranging from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), post-traumatic stress disorder, unexpected transitions and loss, and re-traumatization.

FACT and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Department of Gerontology are partnering to develop a multi-modal training program focused on increasing resilience within CNAs. Using a Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) civil penalties fund grant, the project will build trauma-informed and resilience-focused organizational cultures within licensed nursing facilities.

This project is focused exclusively on nursing facilities and proposes to develop a pilot that assesses individual resilience and organizational trauma-informed care capacity with four nursing facilities in Virginia. Because organizational policies, practices, and supports effect CNAs’ ability to deliver services, this project will target CNAs, managers, and administrators as follows:

  • CNAs will participate in a resilience/trauma-informed capacity survey pre-test, focus groups, trauma-informed care training, resilience skills-building training, and resilience/trauma-informed capacity post-test.
  • Managers and Administrators will participate in interviews, resilience/trauma-informed care training, resilience skills-building training, and resilience/trauma-informed capacity post-test.

FACT was excited to facilitate this innovative partnership and has convened a multi-disciplinary stakeholders advisory group, which includes several FACT Board members. At the conclusion of the pilots, FACT will develop an issue brief that highlights the project and research findings and educates on secondary trauma.

FACT Grants span across Virginia to support Trauma-Informed Care

July 11, 2018

FACT’s ten grantees recently started their trauma-informed projects on July 1st for their 2018-2020 funded grant cycle. The funded projects include innovative initiatives such as batterer intervention programs, collaborative screening tools and system wide trauma-informed networks. Learn more about each FACT Grantee here.

FACT Grantees also serve families in every region of Virginia. The map below illustrates the span of Virginia localities FACT supports.

FACT 2018-2020 Grant Map





FACT Board of Trustees’ statement on family detainment at the U.S. border

July 9, 2018

In the midst of the moral crisis at our southern border, the traumas that have already been experienced by these children and their families should be kept in mind. The evidence is compelling that the vast majority of families being apprehended or denied entry at the southern border are asylum seekers– escaping violence and persecution in their home countries. Families have undertaken journeys fraught with danger and violence, and have only endured the traumas of their journey because they want to protect the long term welfare of their children. These families are being treated as criminals and forcibly separated from their children when we should instead be welcoming them with open arms. Whether it’s forcible separation of families or their prolonged detention together, this is simply unconscionable.


The adverse impact of such traumas on the human brain, and on human growth and development, is well known and documented. Unfortunately, the knowledge of the consequences of trauma too often is not being used to help shape public policy. The appropriate response to these immigrant families is compassion.

These children and their parents are our fellow human beings, the majority of whom are here because they are fleeing violence and persecution. For their sake, and in the name of the values that undergird and animate our country, please choose compassion.

Separating children from their families at our border is not a healthy, compassionate, or acceptable immigration policy. Indeed, it is considered child abuse by many professionals in the field who work tirelessly to preserve family connections and to ensure that children are only separated from their parents in cases of extreme abuse or neglect. FACT commends Governor Northam, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and other Virginia Leaders for challenging the practice of separating children and families at our borders. We ask that federal and state governments work together to reunite families as quickly as possible, to end any policies calling for the detainment of families together, and to find a solution that supports families, ameliorates trauma, and promotes the well-being of all children.

Family & Children’s Trust Fund Invests in Trauma Informed Care Across Virginia

FACT awards over $300,000 in grants to local Virginia organizations committed to trauma-informed care

April 27, 2018

FACT Grants Announced

Family & Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) is pleased to announce $316,712 in grants to ten organizations. These grants represent FACT’s commitment to support direct service and system-wide trauma-informed care approaches across the Commonwealth.

In their landmark ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that exposure to ACE’s, including traumatic events such as child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and substance abuse in the household, can lead to lifelong mental, physical, and social health issues. Based on those findings, experts have cited childhood trauma as one of the most critical public health concerns today. More than 60 percent of children in the U.S. have been exposed to a traumatic event within the year and in Virginia, 19% of children have experienced two or more ACEs. The magnitude of this issue necessitates infusing trauma-informed practices into all human services programs that address issues affecting individuals and families across the lifespan.

FACT funds system-wide trauma informed networks and also requires all funded direct service programs to have trauma informed components. As an established state-wide philanthropic entity, FACT has focused on promoting and supporting trauma-informed practices throughout Virginia for several years. Incidentally, FACT is the only organization in Virginia, and one of few nationally, that addresses trauma across the lifespan.

Congratulations to the following FACT Grant Awardees as they address trauma and family violence in Virginia: NRV Cares, Center for Child & Family Services, OAR Fairfax County, Children’s Trust of Roanoke Valley, Childsafe Center CAC, VCU Health System, James Madison University, Sexual Assault Resource Center, SCAN Greater Richmond, and Shelter for Help in Emergency.

About FACT: The Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) was created by the General Assembly in 1986 as a public-private partnership to raise funds for the prevention and treatment of family violence, including child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse and neglect.  The Virginia Department of Social Services supports FACT’s administrative costs, allowing 100% of FACT funds to directly support programs which work to prevent and treat family violence. FACT is governed by a Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor, to raise and distribute funds for family violence prevention and treatment efforts, as well as to promote public awareness of family violence issues across the Commonwealth.

Oprah championing the importance of trauma-informed care

March 9, 2018

This coming Sunday, Oprah Winfrey will present a 60 Minutes story on Oprah trauma informed 2childhood trauma’s long-term effects.  In the report, she speaks to Dr. Bruce Perry to learn how trauma affects a child’s brain and can lead to physical, mental, and social health problems throughout the child’s life. The special will also highlight trauma-informed efforts in Oprah’s hometown, Milwaukee.

In a promotional CBS This Morning interview, Oprah spoke about what she’d learned about the impact of trauma stating: “This story is so important to me and I believe to our culture that if I could dance on the tabletops right now to get people to pay attention to it, I would. It is definitively changed the way I see people in the world, and it has definitively changed the way I will now be operating my school in South Africa and going forward any philanthropic efforts that I’m engaged in.” She went on to say, “a lot of people working in the philanthropic world, trying to help disenfranchised people…are working on the wrong thing…unless you fix the trauma, you’re working on the wrong thing.”

Oprah’s shift in perspective comes down to what Oprah calls a “life-changing question.”: “See, we go through life and we see kids who are misbehaving. ‘You juvenile delinquents,’ we label them. And really the question that we should be asking is not ‘what’s wrong with that child’ but ‘what happened to that child?’ And then having the resources to be able to address what happened to you.”

In their landmark ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study, the CDC found that exposure to ACE’s, including traumatic events such as child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and substance abuse in the household, can lead to lifelong mental, physical, and social health issues. Based on those findings, experts have cited childhood trauma as one of the most critical public health concerns for children today. More than 60 percent of children in the US have been exposed to a traumatic event within the year and in Virginia, 19% of children have experienced two or more ACEs. Fortunately, research has also shown that a stable supportive relationships with caregivers and strong community supports buffer the effects of ACEs, allowing children to thrive.

Just as Oprah highlights, the magnitude of this issue necessitates infusing trauma-informed practices into human services systems, non-profit organizations, and philanthropic efforts. This is the first time a cultural icon of this standing has recognized this issue, however many organizations in Virginia and across the nation have already shifted to trauma-informed practices and programs. As an established state-wide philanthropic entity, FACT has focused on promoting and supporting trauma-informed practices throughout Virginia for several years. Incidentally, FACT is the only organization in Virginia, and one of few nationally that addresses trauma across the lifespan.

As trauma-informed approaches gain national attention, we’d like to highlight several Virginia organizations that have already made trauma-informed work central to their mission:

Family & Children’s Trust Fund

In the last several years, FACT shifted its focus to include support to direct services and system-wide trauma-informed care approaches. Programmatic grants currently fund Trauma-Informed Community Networks in Greater Richmond and Hampton Roads.  FACT also requires all funded direct service programs to have trauma-informed components.  In addition to programmatic grants, FACT conducts on-going research on trauma-informed care, publishes issues briefs, updates and hosts the statewide FACT Data Portal and supports statewide trainings.

Greater Richmond SCAN

Greater Richmond SCAN is the backbone organization for the Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Network (GRTICN), a diverse group of professionals in the Greater Richmond area who are dedicated to supporting and advocating for continuous trauma-informed care for all children, families and professionals. The TICN is funded by FACT and exemplifies FACT’s commitment to system-wide trauma informed practices in Virginia.

Voices for Virginia’s Children

Voices for Virginia’s Children’s mission is to champion public policies that improve the lives of Virginia’s children. Promoting resilience and preventing childhood trauma is a part of Voice’s 2018 legislative agenda and includes promoting trauma-informed best practices and continuing support for the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

Don’t forget to tune into Oprah Winfrey’s 60 Minutes special this Sunday March 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET!


FACT’s Child Abuse & Neglect Committee’s Legislative Recommendations

March 1, 2018

FACT’s Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN) Advisory Committee serves as one of Virginia’s citizens’ advisory boards and is tasked with advising the Governor and the Department of Social Services on issues related to child abuse and neglect and family violence.

Read the CAN Committees legislative recommendations below, in a letter from CAN Committee co-chair Betty-Wade Coyle to Governor Northam:

Dear Governor Northam:

The Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) was established to provide resources to communities to treat and prevent family violence across the lifespan. As a public-private partnership with administrative support provided by the Virginia Department of Social Services and funding oversight from a gubernatorial appointed board, FACT receives income through dedicated license plates, a state-income tax check-off program and other private donations.

In 2012, Virginia’s Governor’s Advisory Council on Child Abuse and Prevention merged with FACT. The FACT Child Abuse and Neglect Advisory Committee now serves as one of the state’s citizens’ advisory boards required for federal funding focused on child abuse prevention. Included in the duties of that committee is to advise the Governor and the Department of Social Services on issues related to child abuse and neglect and family violence.

With this charge in mind, we are writing to endorse the following proposed legislation critical to effective prevention and intervention of child abuse:

State level trauma-informed approaches

We know from the study on Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs) that exposure to trauma often leads to lifelong health issues if interventions are not made.  Last fall, the Commission on Youth made recommendations to implement state level efforts focused on preventing and mitigating the effects of trauma on children.  Legislation has been put forth to support several of those.  They include:

  • Funding for formation of a state level workgroup to develop a framework to implement evidence-based trauma-informed policy and practice and use it to help identify innovations, interventions, and resources to support resilient children and communities. (Items 281#1h & 281#s1s)
  • Funding to support additional grants through FACT to support innovative practices to prevent childhood trauma at the local level. (Items 334#2h & 334#2s)
  • Increased funding for positive behavior interventions and supports for alternatives to suspension and expulsion in early grades. (Items 129#4h, 129#1s, 135#16h & 135#6s)

Increasing permanency for Virginia’s children in kinship care

Children in foster care who are living with relatives may languish in care for many years. Virginia has 1,708 children in foster care that are waiting to be adopted, half of which have been waiting for over 2 years. The kinship guardianship assistance program creates a new permanency pathway for children to exit foster care and to live permanently with relatives while continuing to receive financial assistance. The guardianship assistance program will encourage Virginia to place more children with relatives so that they can live permanently with relatives as legal guardians.

(HB 106, SB 44, SB 636)

Medicaid Expansion

The expansion of Medicaid will provide a vital support for thousands of families in Virginia and serve to protect children. Parental access to healthcare is fundamental to buffering stress associated with physical and mental wellbeing. The CDC recognizes parental access to healthcare as a protective factor for child abuse and neglect. Without it, a family’s capacity to cope effectively with the typical day-to-day challenges of raising children is critically compromised.

Your administration has already made a clear and ongoing commitment to the health and safety of Virginia’s children and families. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you in those efforts.




Betty Wade Coyle

Chair, FACT Child Abuse and Neglect Advisory Committee

FACT Board Member

How to support Virginia families when filing your state income tax

February 21, 2018

This tax season, consider donating your state refund to the prevention and treatment of family violence and trauma in Virginia. Virginia law allows taxpayers to voluntarily donate all or part of their income tax refund to FACT as approved by the General Assembly. You can easily make your donation while filing your taxes.

How to donate

If you’re paper filing use the Virginia Schedule VAC form and under Other Voluntary Contributions, enter code 72 for the Family and Children’s Trust Fund and then enter the contribution amount.

If you’re electronically filing your tax filing platform will prompt you to enter your voluntary contributions when you get to the credits/deductions portion of your state tax interview.

You may also mannually donate your refund directly to FACT by donating online or sending a check to:

Family and Children’s Trust Fund
801 East Main Street, 15th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Why donate?

FACT is the only organization in Virginia devoted to treating and preventing family violence across the lifespan. This means we have a unique understanding of the complex issues and factors that affect family violence and thus can best distribute the funds to areas and issues that need it the most.

Additionally, the Virginia Department of Social Services supports FACT’s administrative costs. This means that 100% of every dollar you donate will go directly to programs that are working to prevent and treat family violence across the State. Therefore, every donation, however big or small, has a lasting impact on Virginia families.

If you’re getting a windfall from the IRS this tax season, consider investing in Virginia families!

Funding for Trauma-Informed Care in Virginia

January 30, 2018

Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT) of Virginia is soliciting applications for their 2018 grant funding cycle.  A total of $300,000 in awards will be made to nonprofit, faith based and/or public organizations in the state through a competitive application process.  FACT is seeking proposals from community organizations to develop or enhance their efforts to prevent, treat or increase awareness of family violence using a trauma-informed approach.  Programs that provide services to victims of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation are eligible to apply.

Trauma-informed care is an approach to the care and treatment of individuals who have experienced trauma.  Not only is the type of trauma important to consider, but the resulting coping mechanisms and behaviors of the individual are also critical to designing effective treatment programs.  Trauma-Informed practices provide a framework for communities to better understand the impact of trauma on individuals and a way for caregivers to focus their treatment efforts.

As more research emerges about the negative impact of trauma on families across the Commonwealth, FACT seeks to enhance efforts by human-service professionals working with victims of trauma to incorporate trauma-informed care practices into their program efforts and to increase public awareness of the negative impact of trauma on individuals.

Examples of the type of project FACT will consider include:  training for families regarding the impact of violence on their children, the establishment of trauma-informed care networks in communities and training for social workers on how to incorporate trauma-informed treatment practices into their client care plans.

FACT is a public-private partnership and is the only organization in Virginia that is committed to reducing family violence and trauma across all ages.  Applications for this funding cycle are being accepted through February 9, 2018.  Click here to learn more about the FACT grant process and to access the RFP.


-Judy Kurtz, Grants Committee Chair, Family and Children’s Trust Fund, Board of Trustees


Congress must make children’s health a priority

January, 12 2018Happy mother wirh her baby

Imagine if you had to choose between refilling your son’s asthma medication and paying rent, or wondering if you can afford to take your daughter to the dentist or might wait another week to see if her tooth stops hurting. These are decisions that working parents may have to make if Congress doesn’t reauthorizing Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as FAMIS in Virginia. These services are a lifeline for families, providing free or low-cost coverage for kids whose working parents aren’t offered or can’t afford health insurance on their own.

Providing health insurance for children living in low income families makes sense from a variety of perspectives. When children are healthy, they miss less school, are better students and have brighter futures. When kids go to the doctor for regular preventive care, parents miss less time from work. When kids have health insurance, they go to the doctor more and emergency room less.  Affordable health care is a critical foundation for functional families.

CHIP fills an important gap by providing health coverage to low-income children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to buy coverage for their kids. With bipartisan origins, CHIP is one of Congresses most successful creations, having cut the proportion of uninsured children by two thirds since its 1997 enactment. More than 3 months ago, Congress allowed funding for CHIP to lapse. While Congress provided stopgap funding for the program until March, 1000 pregnant women and working parents of more than 68,000 children in Virginia are now in limbo wondering if their children will have healthcare in the months to come.

Because Congress hasn’t done their job, Virginia’s legislators will also be wondering how they can do their work knowing they might need to appropriate $52.9 million of unanticipated funding not in the current budget. Additionally, to continue providing coverage in FY 2019, Virginia lawmakers would need to appropriate an additional unanticipated $137.3 million. An unanticipated expense of such magnitude would force lawmakers to make difficult budget reduction decisions such as raising taxes, pulling back on other budget priorities like mental health or cutting kids medical coverage.

Congress needs to treat children’s healthcare as a top priority. Forcing states to scramble to keep their children’s healthcare programs afloat by tapping into emergency funds is inefficient and irresponsible governance. Stringing along families who rely on CHIP for their kid’s coverage for months is not only callous but harmful—uncertainty may lead families to withdraw from the program and forego needed treatment or quit jobs to qualify for Medicaid.  There’s no good reason for children in need to be denied access to health care. Congress must fund CHIP immediately to provide fiscal stability for states and health security for families in need.

Submitted by Lisa Specter-Dunaway, Vice Chair FACT Board of Trustees & CEO at Family Forwards Virginia