Understanding the concepts of Trauma Informed Care empowers me to recognize the undercurrents in an eviction situation, and to assist in creating a reasonable, safe plan for both children and adults involved.
Serving eviction notices is a large part of a constable’s job. Frankly, it’s a sad part of it. The landlord would prefer to have a stable, long term tenant. People with mortgages would prefer to stay in their homes. But sometimes circumstances arise where that is not possible. Neither the landlord protecting his interests nor the tenant enduring hardship are bad people. Serving eviction papers to those who have been legally ordered to vacate their home or rental is a necessary function, but I intend to treat everyone with dignity and respect while serving the orders of the court.
What is Trauma Informed Care, and what does it have to do with evictions? Trauma Informed Care takes into consideration the circumstances of the whole person, not just the current situation. Let’s look at an example.
A two-income family is leasing a home and leading normal lives. One child becomes seriously ill, requiring several hospital stays, multiple doctors appointments, and missed school. One parent has to quit their job to care for the sick child. It’s not the parent who makes more money, but the one with the better insurance, who continues to work. There are co-pays and miscellaneous medical expenses that add up, along with regular bills. On a single income, with the stress of bills and the emotional rollercoaster of a sick child, the family falls behind on the rent. As a Trauma Informed Constable, my job is not just to serve an eviction notice and wish them luck. My job includes awareness of the root cause of the family’s upheaval, and mitigating those circumstances when possible. I prefer to work with the families in my community rather than blindly adding to the homelessness problem.
Part of being Trauma Informed is understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). When children are exposed to trauma such as sudden homelessness, there are lifelong effects. This is one of the reasons I am committed to carrying out the duties of constable in a way that is always aware of the effect of my actions. The higher the ACE score (1-10), the more likely there will be social, emotional, and physical consequences that will continue throughout life. Take this test to find out your score and what it means.