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Step 1: Actively Demonstrate Leadership’s Commitment

Leaders at all levels have opportunities to support their organization’s ability to become Trauma-Informed and Responsive (TIR).

Leaders must actively demonstrate their commitment on multiple levels.

Lead by example

3 people watching presentation

Participating in training on trauma and its effect on children and families.

Team meeting

Modeling healthy relationship behaviors and interaction skills.

Staff interaction

Clearly communicating roles, responsibilities and expectations to youth, families and staff members.

Inviting questions

Inviting input from staff as well as youth and families to provide meaningful, ongoing input and feedback into organizational decision-making.

Man being visible

Being visible members of the agency/organization and within the community.

Woman messaging a heart

Tending to their own self-care, to ensure they are able to do all of the above.


Leaders who control organizational budgets should use their decision-making authority to prioritize the needed financial and time investments to implement the TIR actions.


Leaders who make decisions about organizational policies should:

Team building

Articulate the Guiding Principles of a TIR approach in their mission and/or vision statements and help staff understand how these principles apply in their work.

Incorporate TIR principles into all policies, programs, and practices.

Develop and implement quality assurance procedures to ensure principles are followed.

Staff Hiring, Development, and Support

Cultural representation

Strive to ensure that staff at all levels of the organization – from entry-level through senior leadership – as well as organizational materials (curricula, communication materials, etc.) are representative of the diversity of the community being served.

Understand the negative and potentially traumatic impact high staff turnover rates can have on youth being served and the overall organization, and advocate for solutions designed to reduce turnover, such as higher pay rates and supports to mitigate the impact of secondary trauma.

Institute policies and practices that support self-care activities and positive relationship-building among staff.

A group of multi-ethnic young adults sit around a boardroom table discussing the future of the business. They are all dressed very casually and are brainstorming new ideas for the company, and the woman in the middle is taking notes for the meeting.