The Restorative Approach

Scientific Rating:
NR
Not able to be Rated
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
High
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. The Restorative Approach has been reviewed by the CEBC in the area of: Trauma Treatment - System-Level Programs (Child & Adolescent), but lacks the necessary research evidence to be given a Scientific Rating.

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

Essential Components

The essential components of The Restorative Approach include:

  • Providers will train all staff in understanding trauma, how it affects current behavior, how children can heal, and how to take care of one’s’ self and each other in order to remain hopeful while doing this difficult work, using a curriculum such as Risking Connection.
  • The Administration must commit to utilizing a relationship-based model; eliminating points, levels, and time-based punishments; and allocating sufficient resources to implement this.
  • All staff must attend a training in The Restorative Approach which examines their theory of change and provides specific strategies for implementing a relationship-based approach.
  • Agency structure, hiring, staff schedules, programming, and expectations must support the development of healing relationships.
  • When the child hurts others, the response will include skill building and making amends, and will teach hope and that relationships can be mended.
  • Responses to children and families will be individualized based on their characteristics and needs.
  • Clients will be actively taught skills.
  • Treatment planning will reflect the central role of trauma in the child and family’s life and will specify methods to develop skills.
  • Supervision will be provided to all workers.
  • Attention to the vicarious traumatization of staff will be embedded into many aspects of the programs, with opportunities to share on an ongoing basis how the work is affecting the staff (not just when there is a crisis).
  • Attention will be paid to developing positive transformation of workers.
  • The parents of children in the milieu receive an explanation of The Restorative Approach and are taught how to implement it in their homes. Parents and other supportive people receive psychoeducation about trauma, how it relates to present behavior, and how children can heal. This often gives them an understanding of their own past trauma as well as helps them to understand their child.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Day Treatment Program
  • Hospital
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School
  • Juvenile detention/justice facility

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

The Restorative Approach does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

The agency needs sufficient staff to offer supervision and support to all and to allow for some meeting and thinking time away from clients. They need a commitment to trauma-informed care from the administration.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Staffing includes persons with Master’s Degrees in mental health; provider who is committed to trauma-informed care.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training is often provided on site for agencies; open training is held in the community at regular intervals. The training is conducted in groups up to 50.

Number of days/hours:

1 day for 8 hours; the program also offers a second training day which includes implementation strategies, techniques for administration and clinicians, hiring and personnel management, and more emphasis on agency methods for lessening of vicarious traumatization.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Child Welfare Outcomes: Not Specified

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for The Restorative Approach.

References

Child Welfare League of America. (May/June 2008). A Restorative Approach to residential treatment. Children’s Voice

Wilcox, P. D. (2012). Trauma informed treatment: The Restorative Approach. Available from NEARI Press at http://bookstore.nearipress.org/index.php/books/trauma-informed-treatment-the-restorative-approach.html

Contact Information

Name: Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Klingberg Family Centers
Website: traumaticstressinstitute.org/services/restorative-approach-training
Email:
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