The Restorative Approach

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Youth-serving professionals working with groups of youth exposed to trauma in the mental health, juvenile justice, and education fields

For organizations that serve children ages: 12 – 18

Brief Description

The Restorative Approach™ is a trauma-informed alternative to traditional “point and level” systems for child congregate care. Based on brain science, attachment theory, and restorative justice, it answers the question, “Now that I understand how trauma affects children, what should I do on Monday?” The Restorative Approach translates knowledge about trauma, the brain, and healing into suggestions for all program treatment providers within an organization. It includes a system for responding when children hurt others, using restorative tasks to teach children skills and to make amends. It includes taking care of the staff that do this difficult work.

The Restorative Approach includes strategies for:

  • Interacting in an attuned manner
  • Using and understanding the adaptive role of behavior to create change
  • Individually responding to problem behaviors based on this understanding
  • Defining the role of the clinician within the team
  • Designing unit structure and programming to promote healing relationships

Program Goals:

The goals of The Restorative Approach are:

  • Agencies will utilize a trauma-informed lens when reacting to problem behaviors.
  • Before reacting to a behavior, agency staff will ask why is the child doing this, what problem are they solving, how is this adaptive for the child?
  • In a crisis staff will be flexible, patient, and collaborative, and will focus on helping the child to calm down.
  • Responses to problem behaviors will be flexible, collaborative, and based on building skills and restoring relationships.
  • Staff will be given time off the floor for supervision and team meetings.
  • Attention to Vicarious Traumatization will be embedded in the agency and staff will have ample opportunity to examine and discuss the way that the work is affecting them.
  • Staff will demonstrate self-awareness of their own reactions to various children and families.
  • Administration will pay attention to staff development and personal transformation.

Expected outcomes include:

  • Decreased use of restraint and seclusion
  • Decrease in negative discharges
  • Decrease in staff injuries through client misbehavior
  • Decrease in staff turnover
  • Greater expressed job satisfaction by staff
  • Increased progress by children and families

Contact Information

Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Klingberg Family Centers
Phone: (860) 832-5507
Fax: (860) 832-8221

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2012