[BELMONT] – On Monday, October 18, 2021, the Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development, Inc. (ACCORD) Board of Directors adopted a new values statement confirming ACCORD’s commitment to delivering services with a trauma-informed approach.
“ACCORD is committed to providing services from a strength-based approach that embraces the principles of safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment, and demonstrates awareness and respect to gender, culture and history, in all interactions, while promoting resilience in the individuals and the communities we serve.”
The newly adopted value statement incorporates the six (6) guiding principles of trauma-informed care, as identified by the Center for Disease Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. Adopting a trauma-informed approach is not accomplished through any single particular technique or checklist. It requires constant attention, caring awareness, sensitivity, and possibly a cultural change at an organizational level.
The designated Community Action Agency for Allegany County, ACCORD has worked to shift the culture within the agency to adopt a trauma-informed approach when delivering services to the community. Staff recognize that each individual’s experiences may affect how comfortable they are with service providers, based on their lived experiences. A trauma-informed approach means that all clients are provided an opportunity to share their stories without judgement and receive individualized help.
ACCORD has also offered multiple professional development opportunities for its staff to learn about trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), resilience and self-care. A tenet of trauma-informed care taught by the University of Buffalo’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care is training oneself to ask, “What happened to this person,” rather than, “What is wrong with this person,” before judging. Members of the ACCORD Board of Directors Planning Committee worked collaboratively with ACCORD’s internal Trauma-Informed Care Committee, chaired by Belinda Knight, Community Operations Director, to develop the new value statement.
“The creation of a policy statement is one important step of many that the Trauma-Informed Care Committee members have taken to implement trauma-informed practices. ACCORD has always approached services with a strength-based perspective but learning about the effects of trauma and how to implement trauma-informed care has helped us take it to the next level in understanding our clients’ needs,” said Knight.
ACCORD’s additional value statements encompass 1) Compassion, Dignity, and Diversity, 2) Advocacy and Empowerment, 3) Commitment to Excellence, 4) Professional Development, 5) Partners and Collaborations, and 6) Accountability and Responsibility.
ACCORD is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency (CAA), established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty. CAA’s are a primary source of support for the more than 38 million Americans who suffer from living in poverty. Since 1972, ACCORD has continually expanded the array of programs and services for low and moderate income individuals and families. Today, ACCORD secures approximately $7 million in grant funds each year to provide residents with services including small business, child care referral, domestic violence, emergency food, Head Start, homelessness and housing.
To learn more about ACCORD Corporation, please visit www.accordcorp.org