The Restorative Approach® (RA) is a trauma-informed alternative to traditional “point and level” systems for child congregate care settings. Based on the book Trauma-Informed Care: The Restorative Approach by Patricia Wilcox, it answers the question: “Now that I understand how trauma affects children, what should I actually do on Monday?”
RA, rooted in attachment theory and the principles of restorative justice, translates what we know about trauma, the brain, and how children heal into specific strategies that all treatment providers can use. When children display behaviors that hurt others and the community, rather than “doing time” or dropping levels, staff assign learning and restorative tasks to help children learn skills and make amends. Therefore, after children lose control, they learn that all is not lost; they can handle emotions differently and take effective action to mend relationships.
The RA Basic Training in a 6.5 hour training that organizations can adopt as a standard staff training via the RA Train-the-Trainer. An organization’s Risking Connection Associate Trainers learn to teach the RA Basic Training so they can embed this training model in their organization in addition to Risking Connection.
The Restorative Approach® Basic Training includes practical strategies for:
- Using state-of-the-art brain science to understand negative behavior.
- Responding to behaviors with concrete learning and restorative tasks.
- Designing unit structure and programming to promote healing relationships.
- Using a “working theory” about each client to guide daily life and respond to negative behavior.
- Teaching children that effective action is possible and that problems within relationships can be solve.
“The Restorative Approach® has given us a concrete method to respond to the behaviors of our girls. Staff now have the tools they need to provide trauma- informed care.”
-Jean Alberghini, Director of Residential Services, Noank Group Homes and Support Services, Inc., Noank, CT