A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed

-realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
-recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.[1]

Trauma Informed LA (TILA), Steering Committee members, and Subcommittee members agree to uphold the following six core principles fundamental to a trauma informed approach:[2]

Safety

Trustworthiness & Transparency

Peer Support

Collaboration & Mutuality

Empowerment/Self-Agency, Voice & Choice

Cultural, Historical, and Gender Considerations

  1. SAFETY: Throughout the TILA, Steering Committee/Subcommittee members and the people served, whether children or adults, feel physically and psychologically safe; the physical setting is safe and interpersonal interactions promote a sense of safety. Understanding safety as defined by those served is a high priority.
  2. TRUSTWORTHINESS & TRANSPARENCY: Organizational operations and decisions are conducted with transparency with the goal of building and maintaining trust with families, youth, individuals, and communities, among Steering Committee/Subcommittee members, and with others involved in the TILA.
  3. PEER SUPPORT: Peer support and mutual self-help are key vehicles for establishing safety and hope, building trust, enhancing collaboration, and utilizing their stories and lived experience to promote recovery and healing. The term “Peers” refers to individuals with lived experiences of trauma, or in the case of children this may be family members of children who have experienced traumatic events and are key caregivers in their recovery. Peers have also been referred to as “trauma survivors.”
  4. COLLABORATION & MUTUALITY: Importance is placed on partnering and the leveling of power differences between the TILA and the families, youth, individuals, and communities served, and among Steering Committee and Subcommittee members, demonstrating that healing happens in relationships and in the meaningful sharing of power and decision-making. The TILA recognizes that everyone has a role to play in a trauma informed responsive approach. As one expert stated: “one does not have to be a therapist to be therapeutic.”
  5. EMPOWERMENT, VOICE & CHOICE: Throughout the TILA and among the people served, individuals’ strengths and experiences are recognized and built upon. The TILA fosters a belief in the primacy of the people served, in resilience, and in the ability of individuals, organizations, and communities to heal and promote recovery from trauma. The TILA understands that the experience of trauma may be a unifying aspect in the lives of those who serve on the Steering Committee and Subcommittees and/or who come to the TILA for assistance and support. As such, operations, capacity development, and services are organized to foster empowerment for Steering Committee/Subcommittee members and people served alike. The TILA understands the importance of power differentials and ways in which families, youth, individuals, and communities, historically, have been diminished in voice and choice and are often recipients of coercive treatment. All people served are supported in shared decision-making, choice, and goal setting to determine the plan of action they need to heal and move forward. They are supported in cultivating self-advocacy skills.  The TILA and Steering Committee/Subcommittee members are facilitators of recovery rather than controllers of recovery.  Steering Committee/Subcommittee members are empowered to do their work as well as possible by adequate organizational support. This is a parallel process as Steering Committee/Subcommittee members need to feel safe, as much as people receiving services.
  6. CULTURAL, HISTORICAL & GENDER ISSUES: The TILA actively moves past cultural stereotypes and biases (e.g. based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender-identity, geography, nation of origin, etc.), demonstrating that healing happens in relationships; offers access to gender services; leverages the healing value of traditional cultural connections; incorporates policies, protocols, and processes that are responsive to the racial, ethnic and cultural needs of individuals served; and recognizes and addresses historical trauma.

[1] SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma Informed Approach (2014) Prepared by SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative.

[2] Adapted from SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma Informed Approach (2014) for the TILA