We conceptualize TIC as a process rather than a destination. From that point of view, every organization working with traumatized children, youth, and families has the capacity to improve the quality of their trauma-informed services.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
Since the end of the 20th Century, researchers and practitioners have helped uncover and clarify how childhood trauma can leave a short- and long-term impact on individuals, families, and communities. This work has driven child, youth, and family-serving systems to better understand the attitudes, services, policies, and practices specifically tailored to enhance safety, resilience, hope, and posttraumatic growth. This process has sparked a movement to transform child-serving systems into systems that can effectively and efficiently respond to, and serve, those exposed to trauma.
Nonetheless, there are multiple definitions of trauma-informed care. Leaders in the field have been working to better define how systems can become more trauma-informed, what steps are involved in advancing trauma-informed care, and how trauma-informed care can lead to meaningful improvements for consumers. Well established empirical findings from the fields of childhood trauma and implementation science guide theoretical models of TIC and provide us with a blueprint for navigating trauma-informed change efforts. Based on this knowledge, we believe that trauma-informed care approaches should be systemic, evidence-informed, evolving, implementation and sustainment focused, and collaborative. The outcome of these pieces working together is an effective and efficient system strengthening those who have been impacted by trauma while reducing risks for further traumatization.
ACTS Trauma-Informed Care Menu
Based on the best research and expertise available, we have created a menu of TIC for child serving systems. The TIC menu is a list key TIC elements that were chosen based on literature reviews and input from expert leaders in the field of TIC. The menu was developed to serve as an empirically informed overview of TIC, and a blue-print for child-serving systems interested in implementing trauma-informed change.
Advancing trauma informed care includes child serving systems focusing on three core domains: 1) The Organizational Environment, 2) Workforce Development, and 3) Trauma-Informed Services. Each domain includes several key components such as partnering with youth and families, and trauma training and awareness. In our menu, our 11 key components are represented individually to facilitate shared communication and understanding of these important TIC areas. However, these components are often inextricable and worked on interchangeably.