Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0304
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Full Text of HR0304  100th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, There have been recent significant advances in
3neuroscience with increased understanding of how emotional
4neglect and exposure to serious trauma affect the way children
5perceive and interact with their world both during childhood
6and into adulthood; and
7    WHEREAS, Post-traumatic stress disorder and other
8trauma-related disorders in children and adults can be caused
9both by exposure to a single severe traumatic incident or by
10exposure to a cumulative series of serious traumatic events;
12    WHEREAS, Such traumatic incidents and events include
13emotional and physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse,
14separation from or loss of a parent due to divorce or other
15reasons, serious injury or death of a parent, exposure to
16family discord, domestic violence, parental mental illness,
17substance abuse, criminal activity in the home, and other
18traumatic and non-nurturing experiences and environments; and
19    WHEREAS, Abuse, neglect, and traumatic events compose part
20of what has been described in the medical literature as
21"adverse childhood experiences" or "ACEs", and the cumulative
22potential impact to a child who has a significant history of



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1exposure to neglect and trauma can be calculated using what is
2called an ACE score; and
3    WHEREAS, It is now understood that significant exposure to
4severe traumatic events as outlined above can negatively affect
5the neurobiology and anatomy of a person's developing brain and
6result in a substantially impaired ability to absorb new
7information, develop healthy coping skills, and adapt to life's
8challenges as the child becomes locked into a
9"fight-flight-or-freeze" mode that becomes the child's and
10future adult's default approach when interacting with the world
11around them; and
12    WHEREAS, Children and adults whose brains have been
13negatively affected by exposure to severe or repeated serious
14trauma, often experience persistent and sometimes overwhelming
15dysfunctional emotions of fear, anxiety, depression,
16hopelessness, and anger, and may exhibit socially
17inappropriate labile and aggressive behaviors, or may exhibit
18socially inappropriate emotional detachment and avoidance
19behaviors; and
20    WHEREAS, These negative coping behaviors and dysfunctional
21emotions limit a person's capacity to form healthy stable
22relationships, foster social capital, learn from experiences
23and mistakes, set and achieve short and long-term goals, and



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1succeed in educational and vocational pursuits; and
2    WHEREAS, In addition to the above negative outcomes,
3children and adults are more likely to attempt to self medicate
4trauma-related "fight-flight-or-freeze" anxiety and emotional
5dysfunction by using available substances such as tobacco,
6alcohol, prescription medications, and street drugs, including
7heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and cannabis; and
8    WHEREAS, Because of the cumulative adverse effects of the
9above negative outcomes on their physical health and emotional
10and cognitive capabilities, children and adults affected by
11severe traumatic events, despite their sincere and best efforts
12to succeed in life, are more likely to: (1) perform poorly in
13school and other academic pursuits; (2) struggle with work
14performance and sustainable employment; (3) become chronically
15unemployed as adults, resulting in financial stress, reduced
16quality of life, and increased risk of experiencing long-term
17disability, homelessness, and other personal and family
18traumatic experiences; (4) become dependent on and addicted to
19tobacco, alcohol, prescription medications, illicit drugs, and
20other substances; (5) become directly engaged with law
21enforcement and the criminal justice system; (6) suffer from
22significant mental illness including depression, psychosis,
23and severe anxiety leading to suicides and attempted suicides
24that otherwise would not have occurred; (7) suffer from serious



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1physical health problems with poor long-term outcomes that
2otherwise would not have occurred; (8) engage in high-risk
3sexual behaviors as adolescents and adults, including onset of
4sexual activity at an early age and multiple sexual partners,
5resulting in increased risks of adolescent pregnancy and
6paternity, other unintended pregnancies, and sexually
7transmitted diseases; (9) experience significant problems and
8failures in marriage and other intimate partner relationships;
9(10) become victims or perpetrators of intimate partner
10violence as adults; (11) struggle, despite their sincere
11efforts, to provide a stable and nurturing environment for
12their current and future children, resulting in increased
13likelihood of intergenerational trauma and intergenerational
14poverty; and (12) face a life expectancy shortened by as many
15as 20 years when compared to average life expectancy for adults
16who did not experience severe trauma as children; and
17    WHEREAS, With an increase in understanding about the
18impacts of trauma has come the development of evidence-based
19questionnaires that identify behaviors and health-related
20disorders in children and adults that can be indicative of
21possible trauma-related exposures; and
22    WHEREAS, Using these questionnaires can provide the
23opportunity to identify and refer a child or adult for
24appropriate additional evaluation and treatment; and



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1    WHEREAS, The mental health profession can effectively
2diagnose and treat trauma-related disorders following
3evidence-based approaches that have been proven to be
4successful; and
5    WHEREAS, One example of a well-studied, highly effective
6and widely available therapy is trauma-focused cognitive
7behavior therapy; and
8    WHEREAS, Early childhood offers an important window of
9elevated opportunity to prevent, treat, and heal the impacts of
10adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress on a child's
11brain and body; and
12    WHEREAS, A critical factor in buffering a child from the
13negative effects of toxic stress and adverse childhood
14experiences is the existence of at least one stable, supportive
15relationship between the child and a nurturing adult; and
16    WHEREAS, With the increase in scientific understanding and
17ability to identify, prevent, and treat trauma-related
18disorders, there is great hope for children and adults to begin
19healing from the negative effects of adverse childhood
20experiences, develop resiliency, and have brighter, more
21productive futures than was previously possible; and



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1    WHEREAS, In order to maximize the potential for positive
2outcomes of evidence-based interventions in the treatment of
3severe trauma, it is imperative that employees of the State of
4Illinois and other people who interface directly with
5vulnerable children and adults become informed regarding the
6effects of trauma on the human brain and available screening
7and assessment tools and treatment interventions that lead to
8increased resiliency in children and adults who struggle in
9life as the result of trauma-related disorders; therefore, be
13encourage all officers and employees of the Illinois State
14Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Services,
15the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Illinois
16Department of Corrections to become informed regarding
17well-documented detrimental short-term and long-term impacts
18to children and adults from serious traumatic childhood
19experiences as outlined above and implement evidence-based
20interventions and practices that are proven to be successful in
21developing resiliency in children and adults currently
22suffering from trauma-related disorders to help them recover
23from their trauma and function at their full capacity and
24potential in school, the workplace, and community, family, and



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1interpersonal relationships; and be it further
2    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
3delivered to the Illinois State Board of Education, the
4Illinois Department of Human Services, the Administrative
5Office of the Courts, the Illinois Department of Corrections,
6and all nonprofit agencies and other entities that contract
7with the State of Illinois to provide services to vulnerable
8children and adults.