AUBURN – “Trauma takes away dreams.” That was the message at the core of an event that introduced the nation’s first Trauma-Informed System of Care. The project, led by Tri-County Mental Health Services, in partnership with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Behavioral Health Services, will transform services for children and families in the region over the next six years.

It will create a new way of working as a community to meet the needs of children and families through coordination, collaboration and communication.

Keynote speaker Karen Baldacci called the project an exciting start toward “building health children, families, communities and a healthy Maine.” The First Lady is chairwoman of Maine’s Children’s Cabinet. “Every child desires the opportunity to be socially and emotionally healthy and a vital part of their community. Each one of you can help us reach this goal,” she said.

The audience of 130-plus included mental health providers, educators, law enforcement, juvenile justice, healthcare, community groups, policy-makers, youths and families, all of whom will be working together over the next six years in the $9 million project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

There are “Systems of Care” communities around the nation, but this is the first one with a trauma-informed approach. It builds upon the work that Tri-County Mental Health has been doing with adults for a number of years.

Tri-County Mental Health Services is Maine’s most comprehensive agency dealing with the psychological and social well-being of children, adults and elders. It serves more than 6,000 individuals each year with programs and services addressing mental health, substance abuse, mental retardation/developmental disabilities and autism.

It serves Androscoggin, northern Cumberland, Franklin and Oxford counties.

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