Risking Connection for Foster Parents

Exciting news! TSI announces the completion of the Risking Connection© (RC) Training Curriculum for Foster Parents. This curriculum is consistent with Sidran and TSI’s philosophy of adapting the original RC model for various professional populations. Following publication of the original RC for professionals working with adult trauma survivors, RC has been adapted for use with child-serving providers, faith leaders, domestic violence professionals, and primary care physicians.

The release of RC for Foster Parents comes at an opportune time. Across the nation, states are relying less on residential treatment to treat their most stressed children and youth. Instead, they hope to develop foster families for these youth. The key to the children being able to heal is offering the foster families enough support that they can keep the child in their home and limit disruptions. This curriculum would also be appropriate for teaching biological or kinship parents.

Read for more details. RC Foster Care for newsletter final

Newest Empirical Support for Risking Connection

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy has accepted the the most recent article on RC research for publication. It is entitled,  “Risking Connection trauma training: A pathway toward trauma-informed care in child congregate care settings.”  Below is the abstract.


Despite the high prevalence of traumatic experiences and attachment disruptions among clients in child congregate care treatment settings, until recently there has been little formal training on trauma for staff serving this population. Staff trauma training is one important intervention for agencies aiming to implement trauma-informed care (TIC), a term describing an international trend in mental health care whereby treatment approaches and cultures recognize the pervasive impact of trauma and aim to ameliorate, rather than exacerbate, the effects of trauma. The current study examines the impact of the curriculum-based Risking Connection (RC) trauma training on the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors of 261 staff trainees in 12 trainee groups at five child congregate care agencies. RC is one of several models used nationally and internationally as a pathway toward TIC culture change in human service organizations including residential treatment. For a subset of agencies, measures were collected at four different time points. Results showed an increase in knowledge about the core concepts of the RC training consistently across groups, an increase in beliefs favorable to TIC over time, and an increase in self-reported staff behavior favorable to TIC in the milieu. In addition, these findings suggest that the train-the-trainer (TTT) model of dissemination central to RC is effective at increasing beliefs favorable to TIC. Differences in posttraining changes between three agencies are qualitatively investigated and discussed as examples of the importance of organization-level factors in successful implementation of agency-wide interventions like RC. Implications for implementing RC and trauma-informed agency change are discussed.

The full manuscript is also available at the following link: 

RC Pathway Final Manuscript with APA Copyright

To purchase a copy of the article, go to:

A Call to Action

A Trauma-Informed Care ‘Call to Action’ from the President and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

A Call to Arms

Destroying Sanctuary New Book by Sandra Bloom and Brian Farragher

 In their new book, Destroying Sanctuary, (Oxford University Press, USA; 2010) Sandra Bloom and Brian Farragher present an insightful and sobering exploration of the current state of service delivery in human services agencies.

They postulate that organizations are living organisms, and are subject to the same trauma symptoms that people exhibit. Destroying SanctuaryThey examine the stressors on the modern social service organization and demonstrate how trauma symptoms, parallel to those seen in people, manifest in organizations.  These include such things as loss of emotional management, ethical dilemmas, authoritarian hierarchies, a workforce crisis, conflict, overuse of punishment, poor decision making, inability to learn, lack of safety, problems in communication, learned helplessness, and unresolved grief. These  contribute to an unhealthy work environment where little attention is paid to the physical and mental health of the people actually delivering the services. 

Bloom and Farragher give many examples of their thesis. Here is one. 

In the human response to stress, fear often becomes a way of life resulting in a person being in a chronic state of hyperarousal with serious negative consequences for the body and mind.  Similarly, human service systems in chronic crises also function in a hyperaroused state where there is little safety and stress is cumulative.  Employees display impairment in emotion management and cannot learn well when is this state.  Communication, the life blood of every organization, is besieged resulting in miscommunication, one-way communication, conflict, secrecy, narrowing of focus, and control measures which eliminate complex team discussions.

Sandra Bloom, MDBrian FarragherThe authors suggest that, for indiviudals and organizations, attachment is the human operating system, the basic underlying process which makes it possible for all the other functions to work (like Windows on a computer). Trauma is a virus, like a computer virus, that attacks the human operating system resulting in impaired individual and group attachment.

The book identifies many processes that are familiar to those working in social services settings. Readers will find themselves thinking, “Aha, so now I understand what is going on! Now I can identify the problem I am experiencing!” While the problems are often daunting, understanding the dynamics of trauma organized systems can help organizations to deal with the pressures more effectively, adapt without becoming cruel, and promote love and care in the system even in the face of great difficulties.  Like individuals, organization can understand that much of the problem is not their fault, but they still must take responsibility for making different choices to create a compassionate setting for staff and clients.

Through the Sanctuary Foundation Bloom and Farragher aim to create a new operating system to restore a sense of sanctuary in human service organizations. They promise to offer more detail about this process in their next book.

For a more complete summary of Bloom and Farragher’s theories, click here. Destroying Sanctuary TSI

Summary of a Trauma Informed Milieu

Presents the elements of a trauma informed treatment program in graphic format

Beyond Point and Level Systems:Moving Toward Child-Centered Programming


Beyond Point and Level Systems: Moving Toward Child-Centered ProgrammingWanda K. Mohr, PhD, APRN, FAAN, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey

James N. Olson, PhD, University of Texas–Permian Basin

 Andres Martin, MD, Yale University

Andres J. Pumariega, MD, Temple University

 Nicole Branca, MSN, APRN, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey

 In this article, the authors critique point and level system programming and assert that continuing such programming is antithetical to individualized, culturally, and developmentally appropriate treatment, and the authors explore the resistance and barriers to changing traditional ways of “doing things.” Finally, the authors describe a different approach to providing treatment that is based on a collaborative problem-solving approach and upon which other successful models of treatment have been based.

The Impact of Trauma on Learning and Behavior

The Impact of Trauma on Learning and Behavior

Hubie Jones, Chair, Citizen Commission on Academic Success for Boston Children; Dean


Emeritus, Boston University School of Social Work

John Mudd, Senior Project Director, Boston School Reform Project 

This article describes a trauma-sensitive school environment can benefit all children, not only those who are traumatized but also those impacted by their traumatized classmates.

Innovations in Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Practices in Youth Residential Treatment

Innovations in Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Practices in Youth Residential Treatment: A Curriculum for Organizational Change

Victoria LathamHummer University of South Florida

Norín Dollard University of South Florida

John Robst University of South Florida

Mary I. Armstrong University of South Florida

This article reviews the literature on trauma and children in the child welfare system and discusses a study of trauma-informed practices in OOH treatment programs and the curriculum Creating Trauma-Informed Care Environments, which resulted from study findings.

Directions to Hartford Training Location

Directions to our new Hartford Training Location

Trauma and Juvenile Justice


The Justice Policy Institute has released “Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense.”

The brief examines the relationship between childhood trauma and involvement in the juvenile justice system. According to the brief, while research shows that up to 34 percent of children in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event, between 75 and 93 percent of youth entering the juvenile justice system annually are estimated to have experienced some degree of trauma.


“Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense” is available online at

For further information about the brief, see the Justice Policy Institute’s press release at

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  • Upcoming Events

    1. Risking Connection Train-the-Trainer

      Jul 11 @ 9:00 am - Jul 13 @ 4:30 pm
    2. ARTIC Webinar

      Jul 19 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
    3. Risking Connection Basic

      Aug 22 @ 9:00 am - Aug 24 @ 4:30 pm
    4. Distant RC Trainer Webinar – Inequities Facing Black Girls

      Sep 18 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
    5. 12th Annual Day of Learning and Sharing – Become a Master Trainer: Critical Skills for Teaching Adult Learners

      Sep 25 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
    • Risking Connection Training

      Risking Connection™(RC) is a foundational trauma training curriculum and training program for professionals who work with trauma survivors. Rooted in relational and attachment theory, it provides a mechanism for individuals and organizations to implement trauma-informed care in their practice.

    • Restorative Approach Training

      The Restorative Approach® (RA) is a trauma-informed alternative to traditional "point and level" systems for child congregate care settings. Based on the principles of restorative justice, it translates what we know about trauma and how children heal into specific treatment strategies.