The Trauma Informed Education and Development (TIDE) project is a four-year project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) that is designed to support an organizational shift toward trauma-informed practice (TIP) across YWCA Toronto. YWCA Toronto is leading the way and implementing evidence based best practices in TIP in order to better meet the needs of the women and girls that we serve.
Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) is a system wide approach based on an understanding that many forms of violence and trauma are common. The majority of women who access YWCA programs have experienced violence and trauma issues either in their past or currently, and many staff may have also experienced trauma- either first hand or vicariously. This project responds to the need for consistent association-wide training, information and organizational change in the Association’s response to violence and trauma experienced by clients, and among staff.
Trauma-informed practice includes a universal understanding of trauma in all aspects of service delivery and place priority on the person’s safety, choice and control. TIP is not about treating trauma. Rather, TIP works at the client, staff, agency and system levels from the core principles of trauma awareness, safety and trustworthiness, choice and collaboration, and building of strength and skills.
Four principles of TIDE:
• Trauma awareness
• Safety and trustworthiness
• Choice and collaboration
• Building of skills
1) increasing awareness, skills and practices of staff, leadership, and program partners,
2) building professional capacity to deliver trauma-informed services and
3) creating a cultural shift across the whole organization. One of the ways we are increasing awareness is through an ongoing Community of Inquiry (CoI) that invited interested YWCA staff to monthly online discussions.
The TIDE Organizational Change Framework has been developed to serve as a guide for organizational shifts at YWCA Toronto in adopting and integrating TIP across the whole association. Shifts toward TIP are expected at the participant level, the program/site level and the organizational level. Another initiative in the TIDE project is the development of training resources for all groups within the YWCA, including participants, staff and administrators.
These shifts include not only violence-specific programs, or front-line workers providing services, but also those providing employment, housing, and girls and family services. In addition, the administration and support staff are important parts of TIDE. Trauma Informed Practice articulates with other approaches used by YWCA Toronto and is integrated into the Quality Framework.
YWCA Toronto has partnered with the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health to research the TIDE project so that our innovations in practice and service delivery can serve as a model to other YWCAs and other multi-service organizations that work with women and children who have experienced violence and trauma.