Applying trauma-informed knowledge to improve outcomes for children, young people, their families, and their communities
Knowledge about the neurobiology of child development, trauma, and attachment is invigorating practice applications across all fields involved with children and young people. This framework increasingly underpins fresh conceptual maps that better resource the care, protection, education, and support of children and young people who have experienced abuse, family violence, and other forms of severe relational disruption.
For more than twenty years, we have worked in partnership with a range of Government and Non-Government Agencies to support them to shape and strengthen their models of practice with children, young people, families, and their communities. Our approach to transforming practice uses the strengths of locally developed and already contextualised evidence-based and evidence-informed approaches to innovation in service evaluation and design.
It draws on the ever-evolving national and international research about
- neurobiology, trauma and relational models of therapeutic intervention,
- the impact of adverse childhood experiences,
- approaches to children and young people’s rights and participation,
- outcomes oriented models of practice across a range of sectors including out of home care, education, youth justice, education and mental health.
We recognise that there are many forms of knowledge that need to be considered when organisations and systems embark on periods of reform to the ways they offer support and services to children, young people, and the networks of adults who are important to them. Such knowledge includes the wisdom drawn from culture, the expertise of practitioners, the voices of children and young people, and the views of parents, carers, and family members.
Our vision to transform practice with vulnerable children and young people
We have established three Centres for Transformational Practice that work specifically to make the knowledge about the neuroscience of trauma more accessible to individuals and organisations who work with vulnerable children, young people, families, and their communities.
Through interactive processes of knowledge exchange and transfer, the Foundation works, in partnership or in its own right, to
- systematically build, synthesise and translate knowledge;
- gather ‘practice wisdom’ to support services and systems to articulate their approach to providing quality relational experiences for children and young people;
- support the development of a collective understanding and capacity to enact service delivery systems which are trauma responsive and implement intentional therapeutic effort; and,
- foster a shared ownership of the achievement of high quality outcomes for vulnerable and traumatised children, young people and the relationship networks around them.
We invite organisations to work with us to embed trauma-responsive practice into the way teams deliver services and programs.
How can we assist your organisation?
Run by our CEO – Dr Joe Tucci – and Deputy CEO – Janise Mitchell – we have a dedicated team of highly experienced practitioners, researchers and communicators who undertake collaborative transformational projects with organisations.
The Transformational Practice Team works closely with key personnel in organisations to co-design models of service delivery that embed trauma responsive approaches and integrate with the core organisational values and vision.
These projects include development of practice frameworks, operational manuals and guidelines, workforce capacity building, reflective practice, supervision, program evaluation, online learning communities and stakeholder participation.
We build partnerships that work and make a real difference to the children, young people, families and communities that organisations engage with and support.
Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care
In 2018, we established Australia’s first ever intermediary organisation dedicated to therapeutic forms of care for children and young people. The Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care has been funded by NSW Department of Communities and Justice and is run by the Australian Childhood Foundation in partnership with Southern Cross University. Its function is to support the evolution of the newly reformed Intensive Therapeutic Care system being rolled out in NSW. The Centre integrates up to date research evidence with cultural knowledge, practice wisdom and the voices of young people in care to produce reports, practice resources and training to support the provision of high quality, evidence-informed therapeutic care. The Centre works in collaboration with the Intensive Therapeutic Care Agencies, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), Education, Youth Justice, Peak Bodies and other important stakeholders throughout NSW.
Our Deputy CEO – Janise Mitchell – is also the Director of the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care.
Centre for Trauma Aware and Responsive Education
Experiences of elevated, prolonged stress or trauma rock the very core of children and young people. In these circumstances, children are overwhelmed with the internal reactions that race through their brains and bodies. They do anything to survive, not because they want to but because they need to.
Traumatised and stressed children and young people have little space left for learning. Their constant state of tension and arousal can leave them unable to concentrate, pay attention, retain and recall new information. Their behaviour is often challenging in the education environment. They struggle to make positive peer relationships.
The consequences of trauma on children and young people are multiple and sustained over time. Yet they are not well understood. These children are often labelled as disruptive, defiant and poor learners at high risk of disconnecting from school.
The Centre for Trauma Aware and Responsive Education brings together resources to help educators, early childhood services and schools understand how to implement frameworks that change the educational trajectories of vulnerable children and young people.
Centre for Trauma Integrative and Transformative Practice
At its core, the Centre for Trauma Integrative and Transformative Practice is an acknowledgement of the power of attuned, sensitive and secure relationships in healing the hurt that traumatised children and young people carry with them. It also appreciates the strengths inherent in the collective power of culture and community.
As it evolves, the vision of the Centre is to assemble a world first collection of training, resources and evidence that support all professionals who work with children and young people affected by trauma and the important network of relationships around them.
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Prosody is the pitch and tone of the human voice. It is the very essence of connection.
Our blog – Prosody – hosts an ongoing forum for the exchange of ideas about protecting children and young people from abuse and exploitation, advocating for their rights, resourcing the adults who are important to them and applying the neuroscience of trauma and healing. It is filled with articles reflecting on research and practice knowledge written by professionals who share in a commitment to the wellbeing and safety of children and young people. We hope you join the conversation too!
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