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United Way of Lancaster County


YWCA Lancaster hosts childhood trauma care conference (video)

Suzanne Estrella, Commonwealth Victim Advocate, delivers the keynote speech at the Empowering Growth childhood trauma care conference at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Photo: Kyle Gamble)

“I think all of us are growing in our knowledge of trauma and the impacts of trauma, particularly on children,” YWCA Lancaster CEO Stacie Blake said.

(Photo: Kyle Gamble)

Blake was speaking Thursday morning at “Empowering Growth” childhood trauma care conference, hosted by YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Counseling Center at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.

About 150 counselors, social workers and other professionals attended the event, the first of its kind for YWCA Lancaster, to hear from experts about ways to support youth who have experienced trauma.

“I’m particularly encouraged that folks also came from outside Lancaster County,” Blake said. “That tells us it’s not just a Lancaster County challenge, it’s a regional challenge.”

The keynote speaker was the Commonwealth Victim Advocate, Suzanne Estrella.

If you yourself have not experienced childhood trauma, she said “then it can be difficult to really wrap your head around what that feels like to that child.”

Breakout topics included child sex trafficking, supporting LGBTQ+ youth, online counseling and self-care for individuals in social service professions.

The forum offered the opportunity “to share and build knowledge across our service sector,” Blake said.

Deborah Wilson Gadsden, director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at the Childhood Welfare League of America and former YWCA Lancaster board chair, welcomes attendees to the conference. (Photo: Kyle Gamble)