Children who have experienced trauma are not just victims. They have strengths, capabilities and talents that should be nurtured throughout their lives and that can help support recovery and healing.
They may feel a loss of control and that they’re powerless to do anything to change their situation. Adults who interact with children should work with them and their caregivers to empower them to make decisions about their own lives.
Ways of empowering children and their caregivers can include:
Learning to differentiate between decisions that are actively harmful and those that are simply not the ones a staff member would make for themselves.
In situations where a youth has caused harm, adults can also empower them by adopting a restorative approach rather than responding in a punitive manner. Restorative responses seek to repair and improve relationships and, as such, empower youth to become a part of the solution.
Trauma-informed and responsive organizations should also engage children and families in providing feedback throughout the process of developing, implementing, and evaluating policies and programming.