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Step 3: Align Policy and Decision-Making with the Guiding Principles

Trauma-Informed and Responsive (TIR) organizations must review all policies and procedures through the lens of the Guiding Principles and revise them as necessary. By doing so, they can proactively resist re-traumatization, while helping children and families cope with the impact of those traumatizing decisions when they cannot be avoided.

Revising policies as needed ensures the TIR approach becomes “hard-wired” into practice, rather than relying solely on training or individual supervisors.

TIR policies and procedures:

Recognize that many of the individuals an organization is working with, as well as in many cases the staff themselves, have experienced trauma in their lives.

Identify agency/organizational decisions and actions that could be re-traumatizing or exacerbate existing traumatic stress for children and families, and take steps to minimize the potential for re-traumatization.

Are clearly articulated, especially those pertaining to the physical and emotional safety of children, families, and staff.

Identify clear roles and responsibilities for staff members, such as what role they are expected to play in responding to trauma experienced by individuals they work with.

Seek to maximize predictability and stability for children to the extent possible.

Detail expected behavior with regard to confidentiality, including any legal requirements staff must follow.

Provide opportunities for healing practices to be employed by staff and families as part of their interactions.

Decision-making in TIR organizations

Includes children and families in decision-making processes as often as possible, such as:

Network of users

In the development of policies and procedures.

In creating individual treatment goals.

In developing service plans.

In designing or re-designing physical spaces.

As part of formal advisory boards.

Provides opportunities for staff inclusion in the development of policies and procedures as often as possible.

Provides explanations for how and why any decisions that impact the child and family are made.

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.
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