Man with broomThe maintenance person  may be the most important person in a child’s life. The kitchen worker is rebuilding his or her brain as he works beside her in a work-study job.

Support staff include the receptionist, the administrative support, the kitchen workers, the maintenance folk, people in the business office. Their interaction with clients can be frequent or rare, short or intensive. In trauma-informed care, every person is a treater. Each person has the opportunity to change a child or adult’s ideas about what other humans are like.

Everyone has something to offer a child. Each person has gifts, skills, a smile, a connection. Each person shapes the client’s impression of what sort of place this treatment program is: is it warm, welcoming, flexible, respectful? Or more harsh, judgmental, and patronizing?

We demonstrate that there are many good ways to be a man or a woman, many talents, many places in the world. Therefore it is essential that support staff be trained in trama-informed care, and be clear on exactly how they, within their role, can offer healing to a client.

It is also important that staff understand that before they succumb to the temptation to offer the client anything outside their role that they talk it over with the treatment team. Our good hearts lead us to wish we could spend extra time with the child, take the client out to lunch, give them a present, offer to be their foster parent. Sometimes these impulses may be just what the client needs. Other times they may be actually harmful. That is why discussing the ideas BEFORE mentioning them to the client is so important.

The client has learned that people hurt them. Support staff can help them learn that some people don’t hurt them. Some people are kind, trustworthy and like them.

Support staff are vital to our role in offering healing to our clients.

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