Agencies committed to working with vulnerable individuals and groups all face enormous stressors. Working with those who have faced adversity presents challenges — from exposure to the troubling behavior and experiences of clients to the external pressures of working in human services systems. ANDRUS has experienced firsthand the complicated financial, regulatory, social and political environments that can adversely impact organizational functioning and cause even the most dedicated individuals to lose sight of the mission, goals and values that should guide their work. Over time, overly stressed organizational systems become reactive, change resistant, hierarchical, and coercive. The organization itself may even begin to exhibit PTSD symptoms similar to those of its clients, creating a trauma-organized culture.
In many agencies, these stress factors can converge to cause a noticeable change in the culture of the organization. The organization’s leadership may spend more time reacting to crises than planning for the future and may constantly feel they are “playing catch up” instead of making forward progress. Leadership may begin to feel frustrated towards staff instead of valuing their contributions, and an “us” and “them” mentality can begin to permeate the organization and erode the climate of achievement and growth. Through the Sanctuary Institute, our faculty teaches agency leadership to recognize these warning signs and reverse destructive patterns to put the focus back on healing, support, and client welfare.
The Sanctuary Model® is a blueprint for change which, at its core, promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive in the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model’s focus not only on the people who seek services, but equally on the people and systems who provide those services.
The Sanctuary Model has been effective with children and adults across a range of human service organizations, including residential treatment centers, public and private schools, domestic violence and homeless shelters, community based programs, foster care programs and drug and alcohol treatment centers.
Using the Sanctuary Model has enabled agencies to:
- Create a truly collaborative treatment environment
- Work more effectively and therapeutically with traumatized clients
- Improve treatment outcomes
- Reduce restraints and other coercive practices
- Build high-functioning multidisciplinary teams
- Improve staff morale
- Increase employee retention
- Reclaim the commitment upon which the organization was built
The process of implementing Sanctuary begins with an on-site needs assessment at an agency’s facility. A Sanctuary Institute representative conducts interviews with leadership, staff, and clients to obtain baseline information about the organization. This first step identifies strengths and areas for targeted intervention. A written report following the visit gives insight into how Sanctuary might help the organization enhance service to clients and improve staff morale by building a trauma-informed culture.
After the needs assessment, members of the agency’s leadership team attend a five day training session on the ANDRUS campus which includes a mix of didactic and experiential components. Lectures explore the detailed components of the Sanctuary Model, including the seven Sanctuary Commitments, psychobiology and parallel process. Participants learn specific implementation steps and concrete tools for bringing the Sanctuary Model back to their own programs. Break-out times, consisting of a series of activities and facilitated discussions, help participants to explore the specific challenges and advantages that their agency may have in implementing the model.
At the conclusion of the five day training, the agency begins the process of implementing Sanctuary with scheduled technical support from Sanctuary Institute faculty for the first three years of implementation. Faculty travel to the agency site periodically to make presentations and provide staff training and other consultation, and the organization becomes a part of the Sanctuary Network, a community of shared practice including over 200 agencies from around the world. The Sanctuary Network allows members to learn from the experiences and innovations of other organizations, share breakthroughs, and build relationships for long term support.
To date, the Sanctuary Institute has trained over 200 agencies throughout the United States as well as Mexico, Ecuador, Scotland, Canada, Northern Ireland and Australia (see list below). Participants consistently praise the effectiveness of our five day training course as a catalyst for change in their organizations:
“This week has been the beginning of my professional healing.” – Beatriz Vides, Director of Child Care at the Astor Home for Children
“The week changed everything for me. I am looking at everything so differently now. I am scared but more hopeful than I have been for some time. Thanks so much.” – Candace Tinagero, Senior Vice President of the Jewish Child Care Association
“I’d heard about Sanctuary, but I had no idea how amazing this was going to be.” – Joan Bender, Director of Training and Professional Development at St. Catherine’s Center for Children
“I’m looking forward to the journey.” – Nancy Atkinson, Director of Program Development at MercyFirst
If you would like to learn more about the Sanctuary Model or Sanctuary Institute, please contact Sarah Yanosy, LCSW at email@example.com or (914) 965-3700, extension 1117. You can also visit the Institute’s website at www.thesanctuaryinstitute.org
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare ranks the Sanctuary Model as an Acceptable/Emerging Practice. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has designated the Sanctuary Model an Evidence Supported practice.
Organizations Practicing the Sanctuary Model:
Arizona’s Children Association
Astor Home for Children
Bethany Children’s Home
The Bradley Center
Brooklyn Staten Island CMSO
Carson Valley School
Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC)
Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie
Children’s Home of York (CHOY)
Children’s Recovery Center (OYC/NAC)
CHOR Youth and Family Services
Department of Human Services (PA)
Drexel University School of Public Health: Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice
Eagle Ridge Family Treatment Center
Good Shepherd Services
Holy Family Institute
House of the Good Shepherd
Human Services Center
Jewish Child Care Association
Jordan ‘s Crossing, Inc.
Mars Home for Youth
NCSTU Girl’s Program
New Life Center
Norman Adolescent Center
OCFS Home Office
Oklahoma Youth Center
PA State leadership
Parsons Child and Family Center
Presbyterian Children’s Village
Queens/Long Island CMSO
Rehabilitation Support Services
Rose Rock Recovery Center
Sarah Reed Children’s Center
Silver Springs – Martin Luther School
St. Catherine’s Center for Children
St. Gabriel’s Hall
Sunshine Youth Services
Ulster Community Hospital & Trust
Uta Halee / Cooper Village
Victoria Dept. of Human Services
Vinita Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center
York County Youth Development Center