LOS ANGELES, May 24, 2018 -- Hillsides, a child welfare and foster care charity, has adopted a Risking Connection® staff training program to help clients recover from trauma. Risking Connection®, a registered trademark of the Sidran Foundation, was created by the Traumatic Stress Institute, and emphasizes recovery through four channels under the RICH acronym, Respectful, Informative, Connected, and Hopeful. The plan is for Hillsides’ entire agency of 520 staff to receive training in the next two years.
“We are very excited about this program as a ground-breaking way to handle the trauma that affects most of our clients,” said Hillsides Director of Professional Development Samira Vishria.
Studies show that 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. The Risking Connection® training program will help the staff at Hillsides by creating a common way of communicating with each other to better understand and assist the clients affected by trauma.
The RICH model focuses on the need to create space for relationships that become strong despite extreme behaviors clients may display with their providers. The goal is to reduce the time, trauma, and costs of healing for all involved. Clients gain a better understanding of the effects of trauma and how to effectively deal with feelings such as loss, disappointment, and shame.
So far over 100 Hillsides employees have been trained in Risking Connection® in an intensive three-day workshop. In the next two years, Vishria expects all staff at Hillsides to be trained.
A significant part of the program is self-care for the staff, to help them avoid vicarious traumatization. Employees learn how to shield themselves from being affected by ongoing traumatic stories of clients and how to avoid burn out. In addition, Risking Connection® teaches employees how to communicate better with other staff as they care for clients.
“Avoiding staff burnout becomes essential in the process of caring for traumatized children and adults. Teaching our staff how to do that through Risking Connection® made the program that much more valuable for us,” said Vishria.
The Sidran Institute is a nonprofit organization that addresses the needs of people who have experienced traumatic life events. The Traumatic Stress Institute fosters the transformation of organizations and service systems to trauma-informed care through the delivery of whole-system consultation, professional training, coaching and research.
Hillsides, with its affiliate Bienvenidos, is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.