The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is honored to announce the release of the Whole Health Louisiana (WHL) State Plan, Louisiana’s first statewide plan to systematically address the widespread issue of childhood adversity and trauma through the integration of trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches in our state’s systems of care and support for children and families. Addressing this issue is critical to the well-being and fulfillment of our state’s children, families and communities.

Whole Health Louisiana’s mission is to transform Louisiana’s cross-system collaboration and community-specific care so that together, we can effectively prevent, recognize and treat childhood adversity and its effects, allowing the people of Louisiana to access their full potential. Through key priority areas of collaboration, awareness, workforce, prevention, and healing, WHL envisions a Louisiana in which children, families and communities are healthy and thriving regardless of who they are or where they live.

“The Louisiana Department of Health is extremely proud to have partnered on this effort to develop a comprehensive approach to preventing and addressing trauma across child-serving systems. We remain committed to working with our partners from across the state to support the implementation of the Whole Health Louisiana State Plan. Building on the community input we have gathered, we will continue to integrate the healing-centered and trauma-informed objectives outlined in this plan within our agency and provide support to other state agencies, organizations and communities that are working to do the same,” LDH Deputy Secretary Tonya Joiner said.

Two years ago, LDH, the Louisiana First Foundation and leaders across the state formed the WHL initiative to prepare Louisiana to better respond to the drivers and impacts of childhood adversity by developing a comprehensive plan. The WHL State Plan, released today, is built upon the initial discovery phase, which took place from September 2021 through August 2022. During the plan development phase, public sector leaders, community members, advocates, and child- and family-serving workforce representatives came together to create a trauma-informed statewide plan with sector-specific strategies, implementation and evaluation approaches with buy-in across systems. WHL is the only coalition in the state uniting all child and family-serving entities across sectors and populations.

“Through our work to raise awareness about the science of childhood adversity, trauma and resilience, the Bureau of Family Health (BFH) was asked to coordinate the development of the WHL State Plan on behalf of the Department. For us, it was both an honor and a timely call to come together with our partners from all regions of the state to create a plan to provide families, communities and service providers with a toolkit to prevent and address these issues. Our mission at BFH is to elevate the strengths and voices of individuals, families and communities to catalyze transformational change to improve population health and achieve equity. We believe that the WHL State Plan moves us all closer to achieving that mission and are happy to continue to support the initiative through its implementation,” said Amy Zapata, Bureau of Family Health director.

Over the next five years, LDH will continue to foster public and private sector partnerships to implement and sustain the plan for the long term. Becoming trauma-informed requires education, training, and ongoing self-reflection for all involved. By being trauma-informed, individuals and communities can play a vital role in creating spaces that promote healing, resilience, and recovery for those who have experienced trauma.

“To that end, the Department will be supporting the implementation of the State Plan over the first five years with both funding and dedicated staff support to ensure a successful transition from planning to implementation. We recognize that this initiative has the potential to impact the health and well-being of our state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents. The success of this plan lies in all of our hands and within each community across our state. If you are just learning about this work, we invite you to join us. If you have supported the development of this initiative in any way, we thank you and look forward to continuing this work together," Joiner said.

Plan objectives will be implemented from January 2024 to December 2028, establishing structures, policies and practices to propel Louisiana toward our vision of healthy and thriving children, families and community members, regardless of who they are or where they live.

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