Wood's Homes Blog

Trauma-informed care in our everyday practice

June 12, 2019
By Sadiya Shah (Wood's Homes Team Leader) and Danielle Mayer (Youth and Family Counsellor)
Trauma-informed care in our everyday practice

At Wood’s Homes, We Never Say No, We Never Give Up, We Never Turn Anyone Away.

This motto is a large part of why we implement trauma-informed care into our everyday practice. Traumatic events are experienced by everyone and are part of being human. When children in particular are involved in such events, this can act as a host for other social and neuropsychiatric problems (Perry, 2006). The Wood’s Homes Supported Visitation and Transportation Program works primarily in collaboration with two programs at Wood’s Homes: The Family Support Network (FSN) and the Foster Care Network (FCN) in providing services to parents and children involved with the Alberta Children’s Services Forest Lawn site. We help to manage risk and safety while supporting access between biological families when the children have been removed from the home due to child protection concerns. The overall goal of the program is to continue to provide and facilitate safe access for parents and children, while also minimizing risk where possible. As such, safety is the first priority of the program when delivering these services.

The Family Support Associates (FSAs) working with the program are trained to understand the impact of trauma and adversity that our clients – children, youth and parents – have experienced. This allows them to work collaboratively with parents to help increase parental capacity and support them in meeting the needs of their children. This is achieved through hands-on coaching, providing parents with education on trauma behaviors, supporting them in being experts on their own children, and using non-judgmental and curious approaches. Furthermore, an emphasis is placed on supporting the parents and the children in achieving developmental milestones.

Parents are also involved in the process of creating the goals for the visits to support child development and improve parenting capacity. For example, if they choose to work on increasing their capacity, it is the role of the FSA to support parents with understanding the importance of structure and routine, follow-through, affect management, child-led play, and even education on typical developmental milestones for children. To support child development, all children under the age of six have their own individualized Developmental Support Kit that provides both the child and parents the resources, activities and strategies needed to assist the child in reaching their developmental milestones.

In a typical setting, the FSA will bring the child to his or her visit with the parent(s) either at the Family Support Network office, Children’s Services offices, a home setting and/or the community. Once at the visit, the FSA and the parent(s) will collaboratively decide which goal they would like to work on as identified in their visit plan throughout the visit. At the end of the visit, the FSA will complete an observation report, which is used to monitor and evaluate progress throughout each visit.

Through the use of such strategies and activities, the Supported Visitation and Transportation Program aims to increase outcomes and developmental capacities for these children. For the children that received services from April 2018 to March 2019, pre and post-measures showed an 88% increase in their developmental capacity – and our goal is to increase this to 100%.