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What is a Trauma-Informed Space?


Trauma Informed Design TipsThe Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services is currently accepting grant applications for organizations looking to create trauma-informed spaces. But what is a trauma-informed space?  

Trauma-informed design creates inviting indoor or outdoor spaces that promote safety, well-being and healing, particularly in settings that provide trauma-informed care. Places like waiting areas, staff offices and conference rooms offer opportunities for this sort of design. A trauma-informed space can be implemented in ANY type of service setting or organization; designing trauma-informed spaces is distinct from trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are designed to address the consequences of trauma.

When creating this space, special attention is paid to making the spaces comfortable and inviting, safe, accessible, family-friendly and in tune with nature. This may be achieved through use of furniture, lighting, plants, layout, color, artwork, aesthetics signage and more. The Trauma-Informed Community Network offers a list of design tips for creating a trauma-informed space. 

Trauma-informed design projects may incorporate items such as comfortable chairs, rugs, children’s toys, a sound machine, plants, soft lighting, light cubes and paint.

Fairfax County’s Trauma-Informed Spaces Grant Program supports community organizations that have experienced a negative economic impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are intended to emphasize the development of trauma-informed spaces that may have taken a backseat to service delivery during the pandemic.

Grant applications for ARPA Trauma-Informed Spaces are due by 5 p.m. on May 12, 2023. For more information, including eligibility requirements and the application form, please visit Trauma-Informed Spaces Grant Program.  

The below examples offer before and after photos of trauma-informed spaces.

For questions on the ARPA grants or on creating a Trauma Informed Space at your organization, please email or call Hallie Jackson at 571-585-2209.

TICN office before TICN office after

TICN Space before

TICN Space After

Garden Before

Garden After

Calming Room Before

Calming Room After
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Hallie Jackson
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Fairfax Virtual Assistant