Top officials across Baltimore government will be trained in trauma-informed care in the next month as the city implements the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, Mayor Brandon Scott announced Thursday.
The training, which will be conducted by the city Health Department in partnership with community organizations, will first be required of all senior-level Cabinet members, the Democratic mayor said during a news conference at City Hall.
Trauma-informed care is an approach to care that assumes a person has a history of trauma and promotes safety and healing.
The city also is convening a task force charged with developing a strategy to reduce and address trauma among city residents. Democratic Councilman Zeke Cohen, who sponsored the Healing City Act last year, will co-chair the task force.
Cohen said he will introduce a companion resolution next week requiring council members to also be trained in trauma-informed care.
“If we are going to ask our agencies to change, we can’t just talk about it, we have to be about it,” Cohen said.
Democratic Council President Nick Mosby pledged to quickly pass the resolution.
The Healing City Act, signed into law in February, was inspired by the shooting of Michael Marks, a 57-year-old special education assistant, who was shot inside Frederick Douglass High School in 2019. In the months after the shooting, several students lobbied the City Council, voicing their displeasure with conditions at the school after the incident, saying they exacerbated their trauma.
The council unanimously passed the bill and then-Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, a Democrat, signed it at the school.
“Although we continue to navigate the dual public health emergencies of gun violence and this pandemic, I know that 2021 will also be a year of healing,” Scott said. “In partnership with Councilman Cohen and the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force, we will act with urgency.”
State Del. Robbyn Lewis, who joined city officials at the news conference, said she is co-sponsoring state legislation to mirror the Healing City Act. The state’s legislative session begins next week.