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During this developmental phase, the organization and staff will be identifying TIC opportunities and noticing what is already trauma informed. The workgroup (and others) will review organizational policies and practice in order to develop a work plan of action. Priorities will be established and monitored. The steps for this phase include Gather Information, and Prioritize & Create Plan.

Gather Information

A trauma informed care (TIC) approach involves all levels of an agency making small adjustments while simultaneously working on big changes. During this effort, agencies can use information and data to identify opportunities for TIC, highlight current trauma informed practices, and measure progress in implementation.

Workgroup uses a process for gathering information about trauma informed care opportunities.

Relates to Standard Vb in the Standards of Practice

There are many agency assessment tools and environmental scans available for gathering information about TIC. Find some in the Assessment & Strategic Planning category on the Resources for Organizations page. This process can be led by an external consultant (with expertise and neutrality that can be helpful) or an internal group. The benefit of having an internal group is that they understand the inner workings of the agency and can be very efficient and effective. However, keep in mind staff capacity. Adding this task to full workloads can be challenging. In addition to a more formal assessment process, information, (e.g., hotspots), can be gathered informally at all-staff meetings, trainings, comment boxes, and surveys. Regardless of how you gather the information, it’s important to incorporate the perspective of staff and stakeholders including persons with lived experience of your service system.

Measurement of this action and the others in the Gather Information step involve documenting the process. The easiest way to do this is in the workgroup meeting notes. More involved processes might include a periodic focus group with workgroup members or a brief survey.

Workgroup has reviewed policies, practices, and environment with trauma lens.

Relates to Standard Ie, Standard IIa, Standard IIb, Standard IVd, Standard IVf, and Standard Vd in the Standards of Practice

It may seem overwhelming to think about reviewing all policies and practice, as well as the organizational setting. Trauma Informed Oregon’s Standards of Practice can help focus the effort. Using a TIC lens, the Standards of Practice have identified policies and practice across a number of organizational domains that are relevant to most service settings. This document has also been adapted for education and healthcare. It may also help to start the process with an area of focus, for example:

  • A program within the agency (e.g., afterschool, parent education, counseling, or emergency assistance program),
  • A location or site (e.g., courtroom, mobile unit, or housing site), or
  • A point in time for service recipients or staff (e.g., agencies may focus specifically on intake or new hire onboarding)

Measurement of this action and the others in the Gather Information step involve documenting the process. The easiest way to do this is in the workgroup meeting notes. More involved processes might include a periodic focus group with workgroup members or a brief survey.

The organization has a process for input and feedback from staff and service recipients.

Relates to Standard Id, Standard IIe, and Standard IVg in the Standards of Practice

There are many ways to gather feedback and input. For example, some organizations have a comment box. Others use a periodic (e.g., annual) survey for staff and service users. The key is to make sure the input is meaningful and timely. It doesn’t help to learn that a practice is stressful six months after the fact. Considering multiple ways to solicit input will ensure that individuals feel heard. The following are some ideas.

  • Suggestion boxes
  • Blogs
  • Forums or meetings
  • Supervision
  • Focus groups

Not only is feedback and input an important way to identify opportunities for TIC, it’s important that staff and service users feel heard. Consider asking people if they feel they have adequate opportunity to give feedback and ideas for improvement. Document the various options for staff and service recipients to provide feedback, such as those listed above.

The organization uses other data to identify opportunities for TIC.

Relates to Standard Vg in the Standards of Practice

When organizations use data to identify opportunities for TIC, consider data that informs policy and practice. The type of data used will vary across systems and organizations. For example, does your organization keep incident reports or some other log of behavior? Perhaps there is data that reflects achievement or accomplishments. The organization may also have data from surveys of service recipients and staff. Remember, data doesn’t have to be quantitative. You could also use qualitative feedback from suggestion boxes, interviews, or open-ended survey questions. If the data you need isn’t already being collected, consider ways to gather this information.

The use of data to inform TIC will be measured by tracking which data is used, and how it’s collected. Consider adding this information to the work plan.

Prioritize & Create Plan

While trauma informed care (TIC) rests on a well-defined set of principles and values, the application of TIC will vary from setting to setting. Because TIC becomes part of an organization’s culture and approach to service delivery, agencies will prioritize opportunities reflecting their own circumstances and environments. Identifying a method for prioritizing these opportunities and developing a work plan will help an agency move forward without becoming overwhelmed by the possibilities. Below are some considerations that might make this process easier.

Workgroup has developed a method to prioritize TIC opportunities.

Relates to Standard Vg in the Standards of Practice

Although there is no right way to prioritize TIC opportunities, the following are considerations that may help create buy in and efficiency.

  • Chose one of the TIC principles (e.g., safety, power, self-worth) for initial efforts. Many agencies prioritize issues of safety because the concrete aspects of physical safety in a service setting can be an easy place to start (e.g., creating a buddy system for staff walking to the parking lot late at night).
  • Pick the low hanging fruit by starting with what is easiest to change or will make the biggest difference for service recipients and staff.
  • Identify efforts that are high impact and low cost.
  • Identify current practices that will have a negative impact if not addressed (Fallot & Harris, 2009).

Use Trauma Informed Oregon’s Standards of Practice for guidance.

Measurement of this action will be done by documenting the process, most likely in the meeting notes or protocols from the workgroup.

Workgroup has created a work plan.

Relates to Standard Vg in the Standards of Practice

TIC results from small adjustments and large changes, so be encouraged to consider any opportunity for improvement. The goal is to engage staff in trying things and to create an environment where all ideas are welcome. Organizing the areas for opportunity in a spreadsheet provides an easy method for keeping track of possible solutions, next steps, responsible party(ies), and measures for change.

Measurement of this action will be done by documenting the process. The work group is often responsible for creating and maintaining a work plan.

Workgroup monitors the work plan and uses it to feed implementation efforts.

Relates to Standard VgStandard Vh in the Standards of Practice

Once a work plan is created, it’s important to keep it updated. The workgroup is often responsible for adding information to the work plan and monitoring progress. If the number of TIC opportunities identified (and included in the work plan) exceeds the capacity of the organization, it will be important to reflect this in the timeline and move the priorities to the top of the list.

Measurement of this action will be done by documenting the process. The workgroup will develop a process to monitor and execute the plan.

Phase 4: Trauma Informed