This is the second in a four-part series about sustaining trauma-informed care through goal setting, data collection, monitoring, responding to regression, and communicating and celebrating success.

Each of these topics is explored in more detail in Making It Real, the team-based on line course for child-serving teams. In the course you get videos, planning guides and resources which guide your team through an implementation plan in each one of these areas. Check it out here.

When an agency starts a new initiative there is bound to be a lot of anxiety and concern. People are afraid of change, and also worry that everything they know how to do will no longer be allowed. They fear that with a change of methods chaos will break out, and they know well how dangerous chaos can be. They are often unclear as to why any change is necessary, and they may have inaccurate expectations of what this change will entail.

Hence the importance of communication at all stages of the change process. The implementation team should create and follow a deliberate communication plan. The first step is deciding who needs to know what. Here are some possible stakeholders: staff, clients, families, funders, regulators, collaborative professionals, our Board of Directors, our donors, and the public. It is helpful to make a list of all of your current mechanisms for communicating with these various groups, and discuss how these could be used to share the changes that are contemplated.

Here are some sample areas to share:

Staff
What does our staff need to know?
What is trauma informed care?
How does it fit in with our mission and values?
Why should we change?
How will it differ from what we do now?
What is the anticipated change process?
What will it require of me?
When can I expect the changes to come to my area?
What are some successful strategies that are being used?
Other
Communication mechanisms currently existing within agency (list all):
Mechanisms we need to add:
Families and Collaborating Professionals
What do our families and collaborating professionals need to know?
What is trauma informed care?
How does it fit in with the agency mission and values?
Why is the agency changing?
How will it differ from what we experience now?
What is the anticipated change process?
How will the changes impact my interaction with the agency?
When can I expect the changes to come to my son, daughter or client’s area?
Other
Communication mechanisms currently existing within agency (list all):
Mechanisms we need to add:

Questions for Team Discussion:

Who needs to know our data about our progress in implementation, as measured by the how well and better off measures that we have identified?
Are there differences in what we want to present to different groups, or how we want to present it? (i.e. internal/external, families, youth, etc)
What will we do if data does not support progress?
How can we integrate this into existing QI efforts?
What mechanisms do we currently have for sharing data?
Do we need more?
Click here for a Data Communication Plan for your team.

Click Here to Get Your Planning Guide

It is essential that the communication plan continue throughout the entire change process, for at least two years. As time goes on, the communication will gradually include more of what has been accomplished and results that are being observed. These should include both data and anecdotal stories.

Thorough communication about both the change effort and its results will have many benefits for the agency, including less anxiety, increased staff pride and improved relationships with consumers, funders and donors.

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