Data-Driven, Cross-Sector: Bounce Coalition Boosts Trauma-Informed Change in Kentucky
This article originally appeared on marc.healthfederation.org September 17, 2020
Student suspension rates dropped. Teacher retention rose. Membership in the PTA swelled from zero to more than 200. More kids said in a survey that there was at least one adult at school whom they could talk to if they had a problem.
The data—a comparison of the Bounce Coalition’s pilot school and one with similar demographics—told the Kentucky resilience-boosting group that they were on the right track.
The Bounce Coalition formed in 2014; the catalyst was a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, calling for community-driven, cross-agency approaches to improve child health in the state.
The other six grantees chose to work on issues such as child obesity and exercise. But in Jefferson County—the state’s most populous, with over 700,000 people—professionals from city government, education, physical and behavioral health, the local YMCA and non-profit agencies decided to go upstream.
“We looked at the data on homelessness, on teen pregnancy. That led back to adverse childhood experiences,” says BJ Adkins, co-chair of the Bounce Coalition. “We recognized the strength of cross-sector coalitions, and that it had to be a community-wide effort to make change.”
Initially, the Bounce Coalition focused on bringing trauma-informed practices into schools and after-school programs such as those offered by the YMCA. The coalition provided comprehensive training: everyone from the principal and teachers to aides, custodians and bus drivers.
For an evening program at the coalition’s pilot school, parents could take workshops on ACEs and learn about how to connect digitally with teachers and staff. There were free dinners from Panera and a photographer to take family portraits as a gift to attendees.
“One family came in—a young couple,” Adkins recalls. “She was in her McDonald’s uniform; he had his helmet and knee pads from cutting trees; they had a baby in a stroller and three or four other kids with them. They said [the portrait] was one of the best gifts they’d ever received. It was showing the importance of family.”
A school district evaluator was part of the Bounce Coalition; in contrast to the comparison school and the district as a whole, the pilot school’s numbers looked good—fewer referrals to the principal’s office, more parent engagement. Anecdotal evidence also showed the initiatives were working.
After the first training session with a group of elementary school bus drivers, one participant told trainers about a child who was misbehaving on his bus. “In the old days, he would have suspended him. But they had a conversation, and he found out the kid had been a victim of possible abuse,” says David Finke, a psychologist, vice president of residential services at a youth treatment center and the Bounce Coalition’s other co-chair.
“Instead of kicking him off the bus, he recognized that the behavior may have been an indication of trauma.”
Soon, the Bounce Coalition’s work expanded: from urban Kentucky to more rural counties, and from schools to other settings.
After the initial three-year grant ended, the group evolved into an even larger cross-sector learning collaborative. In 2020, Bounce became a program of Kentucky Youth Advocates, which serves as backbone for the group.
Now Bounce provides training, education and resources to a range of organizations, including—thanks to a Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence grant launched this summer—three of Louisville’s residential treatment facilities for adolescents.
“It’s a train-the-trainer grant,” Finke explains, “and among the participants in the training are going to be young adults formerly placed in those agencies who can become Bounce trainers themselves.”
Before COVID-19, the Bounce Coalition conducted quarterly “grand rounds” presentations, in which someone from a particular sector—say, a principal dealing with a struggling student—presented a case and members of the cross-sector audience could offer questions, ideas and feedback. The events are continuing virtually.
Shannon Moody, who works with Kentucky Youth Advocates as a liaison with the Bounce Coalition, recalls the first grand rounds she attended, in Louisville’s metro government building, in 2019. “I was sitting there, looking at all the folks from different sectors in the same room. It was clear that this was such a need, that there’s such an appetite for more information, more education, more tools” around trauma and resilience, she says.
Finke would like to see the Bounce Coalition engage more with law enforcement, the juvenile justice system and child welfare; he’d like the group to make forays into the business world as well. The coalition now has a policy committee that aims to educate lawmakers on the impact of ACEs.
Meantime, in light of the nationwide focus on racial justice, catalyzed, in part, by the March killing of African-American medical worker Breonna Taylor by Louisville police, two consultants are reviewing the coalition's training curriculum—Intro to ACEs, Building Trauma-Informed People and the two-day Bounce University Train-the-Trainer Program—with an eye toward promoting cultural competence and addressing racial trauma.
The coalition’s victories so far—children who report their “emotional temperature” in morning circle; teachers who say they feel more adept at recognizing and preventing trauma; a membership list of 80 people eager to be involved in Bounce’s work—have given its leaders momentum and hope.
“It’s the power of what we can do as a group, as a coalition,” says Adkins. “It’s the dedication, the commitment and the diversity of the cross-sector people who have formed a bond. It gives me the feeling that we can do almost anything if we work together.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mara Powell, Kentucky Youth Advocates
Bounce Coalition to partner with YMCA of Greater Louisville and Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana for Trauma-Informed Care Supports
Over 600 staff from YMCA of Greater Louisville and Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana to participate in program
Louisville, KY (October 06, 2020) – The Bounce Coalition and C.E. and S. Foundation have partnered in work to provide training and support to two of Louisville’s out-of-school time and early childcare providers throughout the next year. Bounce will partner with YMCA of Greater Louisville’s Infant, Toddler and Preschool Program and School-Age Child Care Program (K-8), and Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana’s legacy clubs in the Newburg, Parkland, and Shawnee neighborhoods to become trauma-informed organizations – serving children and families through self-sustaining healing-centered policies and practices.
Across the country, there is growing recognition of trauma’s profound negative impact on the health and well-being of children and adults. Exposure to abuse, neglect, systemic discrimination, and violence increases the risk for poor health outcomes throughout life. Yet it is possible to foster resilience, equipping people with the tools to effectively respond to adversity and bounce back.
Each organization will have the opportunity to develop a 12-month plan that will address organizational needs and will include participation in Bounce trainings, professional development, technical assistance, and other learning opportunities.
“The Bounce Coalition is committed to supporting organizations in strengthening their ability to deliver trauma-informed services to even our youngest children,” said Betty “BJ” Adkins, co-chair of the Bounce Coalition. “Bounce’s partnership with the YMCA of Greater Louisville and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana will help children in our community develop a sense of security and consistency, mitigating the impact of trauma that children experience.”
“As a result of this project, the Bounce Coalition will assist our childcare programs in establishing services for our community that are both evidence-based and trauma-informed, as well as providing our staff with practical tools to develop resilience-building skills amongst our youth with positive impact now and for the future,” said Steve Tarver, CEO of YMCA of Greater Louisville.
“We are eager to partner with the Bounce Coalition, because we know that we must understand the impact of trauma and develop resilience-building practices within our programs to best serve the youth in our care,” said Jennifer Helgeson, President and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.
“The C.E. and S. Foundation is pleased to support this collaboration between the Bounce Coalition, the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Clubs as part of our interest in improving education outcomes for children in Louisville,” said Tess McNair, Executive Director of C. E. and S. Foundation. “At a time when students are increasingly faced with difficulties and uncertainties that affect their wellbeing, this partnership has the potential to build resilience that will help them be successful.”
For more information about the Bounce Coalition and its available trainings, visit www.bouncecoalition.org.
About The Bounce Coalition
The mission of Bounce is to build the resilience of children and families by improving knowledge about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the skills to help youth bounce back from adversity. Visit bouncecoalition.org to learn more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bounce Coalition Partners with Humana to Provide Trauma-Informed Training to Employees serving Kentuckians with Medicaid
Louisville, KY (September 17, 2020) – The Bounce Coalition is partnering with Humana to provide trauma-informed training for the managed care organization’s employees serving Medicaid members in Kentucky.
Across the country, there is growing recognition of trauma’s profound negative impact on the health and well-being of children and adults. Exposure to abuse, neglect, systemic discrimination, and violence increases the risk for poor health outcomes throughout life. Yet it is possible to foster resilience, equipping people with the tools to effectively respond to adversity and bounce back. Using Bounce’s resiliency-building training resources and evidence-based model, Humana employees will participate in a series of Bounce educational workshops to understand the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences—also known as ACEs—the importance of self-care, and practical strategies to build resilience within themselves and those they serve.
In May, Humana was selected by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to continue serving children and adults across the health company’s home state of Kentucky through the Department for Medicaid Services. Humana currently provides coordinated medical, wellness, and pharmacy benefits coverage and services to 150,000 Kentucky Medicaid recipients. Under the new agreement, Humana Medicaid will serve eligible Kentuckians in January 2021. The statewide program will serve approximately 1.26 million Medicaid enrollees.
Implementing Bounce training supports Humana’s goal to add specialized programs and services tailored to meet the needs of people covered by Medicaid.
"The Bounce Coalition is committed to supporting individuals and organizations as they implement trauma-informed approaches in practical, everyday settings," said Betty (BJ) Adkins, Co-Chair of the Bounce Coalition. "Research demonstrates that building a trauma-informed health care organization that acknowledges a person’s life experiences is key to delivering effective care and has the potential to improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. Implementing trauma-informed care may also reduce provider and staff burnout and workforce turnover."
"Humana is a proud leader in healthcare innovations and community wellness, which is why we are eager to partner with the Bounce Coalition. We know that to best serve our members we must understand the impact of adversity and importance of sustainable trauma-informed and resilience-building practices to build a stronger workforce and healthier communities," said Jeb Duke, Medicaid Regional President for Humana.
For more information about the Bounce Coalition and its training resources, visit www.bouncecoalition.org.
About The Bounce Coalition
The mission of Bounce is to build the resilience of children and families by improving knowledge about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the skills to help people bounce back from adversity. Since Bounce was launched in Kentucky in 2016, it has provided training and education to thousands of people. In 2020, it became a program of Kentucky Youth advocates. Visit bouncecoalition.org to learn more.
Humana Inc. is committed to helping millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. A successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping Humana create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Humana’s efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dr. David Finke, PhD
Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Funds Bounce Partnership with Louisville’s Providers of Adolescent Residential Services
Uspiritus, Boys and Girls Haven, and St. Joseph Children’s Home building a community of providers with shared trauma-informed framework
Louisville, KY (February 14, 2020) – The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) has awarded the Bounce Coalition a grant to provide training and support to several of Louisville’s adolescent residential services over the next two years. Bounce will partner with Uspiritus, Boys and Girls Haven, St. Joseph Children’s Home, and the on-campus Jefferson County Public Schools serving these agencies to become self-sustaining, trauma-informed organizations – serving children and families through healing-centered, trauma-informed policies and practices.
Across the country, there is growing recognition of trauma’s profound negative impact on the health and well-being of children and adults. Exposure to abuse, neglect, systemic discrimination, and violence increases the risk for poor health outcomes throughout life. Yet it is possible to foster resilience, equipping people with the tools to effectively respond to adversity and bounce back. Using Bounce’s resiliency-building training resources and evidence-based model, the JHFE grant of $177,000 supports a series of “Bounce University” train-the-trainer workshops, technical support, and the facilitation of an inter-agency Bounce Learning Collaborative.
"The Bounce Coalition and all of the participating agencies are committed to delivering trauma-informed care to the youth we serve," said Dr. David Finke, PhD., Vice President of Residential Services at Uspiritus and Co-Chair of The Bounce Coalition. "And it will build our capacity to meet new requirements mandated by the Family First Prevention Services Act requiring youth-serving residential facilities to incorporate an evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment model and to sustain best practices over time."
"JHFE believes in the strength and promise of youth. We are proud to support the Bounce Coalition and partner residential facilities in their work to ensure youth in care are provided the supports they need to overcome adversity and thrive," Jeff Polson, Executive Director, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.
As a result of this project, Uspiritus, Boys and Girls Haven, and St. Joseph Children’s Home will establish evidence-based trauma-informed care models and staff training that support the transformation of Kentucky’s child welfare system.
For more information about the Bounce Coalition or its partnerships, contact Dr. David Finke at or 502-235-7565.
About The Bounce Coalition
The mission of Bounce is to build the resilience of children and families by improving knowledge about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the skills to help youth bounce back from adversity. Visit to learn more.