Organizational Certification in Trauma-Informed Care is a Journey, not a Destination

Your Partners in the Journey

We at the Trauma-Informed Care Training Center are here to help you establish and achieve your organizational goals.

Our journey-based process is built on goodwill and commitment and is not regulatory or punitive in nature. 

Once you’ve reviewed your organization’s readiness and openness to change, your TIC team will create a plan of action toward implementation.

At six months into the first year, and once-per-year thereafter, your TIC ambassador will submit a report to our Center for review and approval, in order to maintain certification.

At every reporting period, your goals and implementation plan may need to be reassessed and/or revised, depending on circumstances.

Please be aware that the change process is incremental and it may very well take three years or more to achieve a state of TIC stasis. Even at that point, though, the work isn’t finished. It requires ongoing attention and training to maintain your organizational intentions.

The decision to become a Trauma-Informed Organization (or a team within an organization) is no trivial matter. It requires a deep commitment, at every level, and a tremendous amount of energy to create a culture of resilience.

The results, though, are worth the effort.

Improved service quality, increased safety, enhanced client engagement, and creating a strong and resilient workforce are just a few of the reported improvements connected to a commitment to honor everyone's experience.

The Way Forward:

A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization. -SAMHSA

Key Principles

Throughout the organization, staff and the people they serve, whether children or adults, feel physically and psychologically safe; the physical setting is safe and interpersonal interactions promote a sense of safety defined by those served is a high priority.

Organizational operations and decisions are conducted with transparency with the goal of building and maintaining trust with clients and family members, among staff, and others involved in the organization.

Peer support and mutual self-help are key vehicles for establishing safety and hope, building trust, enhancing collaboration, and utilizing their stories and lived experience to promote recovery and healing. The term “Peers” refers to individuals with lived experiences of trauma, or in the case of children this may be family members of children who have experienced traumatic events and are key caregivers in their recovery. Peers have also been referred to as “trauma survivors.”

Importance is placed on partnering and the leveling of power differences between staff and clients and among organizational staff from clerical and housekeeping personnel, to professional staff to administrators, that healing happens in relationships and in the meaningful sharing of power and decision-making. The organization recognizes that everyone has a role to play in a trauma-informed approach. As one expert stated: “one does not have to be a therapist to be therapeutic.”

Throughout the organization and among the clients served, individual’s strengths and experiences are recognized and built upon. The organization fosters a belief in the primacy of the people served, in resilience, and in the ability of individuals, organizations, and communities to heal and promote recovery from trauma. The organization understands that the experience of trauma may be a unifying aspect in the lives of those who run the organization, who provide the services, and/ or who come to the organization for assistance and support. 

The trauma-informed organization actively moves past cultural stereotypes and biases  (e.g. based on race, and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender identity, geography, etc. )offers, access to gender responsive services; leverages the healing value of traditional cultural connections; incorporates policies protocols, and processes that are responsive to the racial, ethic and cultural needs of individuals served; and recognizes and addresses historical trauma. 

Implementation Domains

The leadership and governance of a trauma-informed organization support and invest in implementing and sustaining a trauma-informed approach. There is an identified point of responsibility within the organization to lead and oversee this work and peer voices are included.

There are written policies and protocols establishing a trauma-informed approach as an essential part of the organizational mission. Organizational procedures and cross-agency protocols reflect trauma-informed principles.

The organization ensures that the physical environment promotes a sense of safety.

People in recovery, trauma survivors, consumers, and family members receiving services have significant involvement, voice, and meaningful choice at all levels and in all areas of organizational functioning (e.g., program design, implementation, service delivery, quality assurance, cultural competence, access to trauma-informed peer support, workforce development, and evaluation).

Collaboration across sectors is built on a shared understanding of trauma and principles of a trauma-informed approach. While a trauma focus is not the stated mission of different service sectors, understanding how trauma impacts those served and integrating this knowledge across service sectors is critical.

Interventions are based on the best available empirical evidence and science, are culturally appropriate, and reflect principles of a trauma-informed approach. Trauma screening and assessment are an essential part of the work. Trauma-specific interventions are acceptable, effective, and available for individuals and families seeking services. When trauma-specific services are not available within the organization, there is a trusted, effective referral system in place that facilitates connecting individuals with appropriate trauma treatment.

Continuous training on trauma, peer support, and how to respond to trauma is available for all staff. A human resource system incorporates trauma-informed principles in hiring, supervision, and staff evaluation; procedures are in place to support staff with trauma histories and/or those experiencing significant secondary traumatic stress from exposure to highly stressful material.

There is ongoing assessment, tracking, and monitoring of trauma-informed principles and effective use of evidence-based and trauma-specific screening, assessments, and treatment.

Financing structures are designed to support a trauma-informed approach which includes resources for staff training, development of appropriate facilities, establishment of peer support, and evidence-supported trauma screening, assessment, services, and interventions.

Measures and evaluation designs used to evaluate service or program implementation and effectiveness reflect an understanding of trauma and appropriate trauma-research instruments.

Is your team ready to adopt a Trauma-Informed model?

Use the form below to schedule a no-cost, up-to-one-hour consultation

Frequently Asked Questions:

Pre Implementation Stage

  • Consultant needs assessment
  • Formation of a trauma-informed committee/work group
  • Training for trauma-informed committee/work group
  • Stakeholder assessment (staff, admin, community, service base, etc)


Assessment review and recommendations

  • Strategy development and budgeting


Implementation Stage

  • Training for all staff
  • Six-month review and approve or reject certificate based on demonstrated progress toward stated goals of implementation
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program in place

Sustainability Stage

  • Ongoing training and CQI
  • Annual review and recertification

Yes. It’s vitally important that everyone on your staff gets training in Trauma-Informed Care. Here at the Center we have a few different options for training, some of which are designed for staff who interact directly with clients and others that are designed for support staff.

No, it isn’t. Now that the pandemic has begun to wain we’re once again offering in-person training for organizations. We’re also offering hybrid training, including the option for virtual live.

Get more information by scheduling a no-cost consultation below.

We do. Our consultation package includes twenty hours of consultation, good for up to a year.

We follow SAMHSA’s guidelines for organizational TIC.

Absolutely! It’s much the same process for certifying an entire organization and can be an incremental part of that final goal.

Kind of yes, kind of no.

CEUs are a tricky thing. There are thousands of governing boards for the hundreds of fields we’re trying to reach with TIC. Every one of those boards requires submission, review, approval, etc.

In order to jump through all those hoops we’d need a full time staff member – whose sole job is pleading for board approval. That, in turn, would drive up the cost of the training.

Instead, we’ve found that asking your governing board to consider approving your training prior to registering has proven successful for many, many learners.

If your board gives the official OK, the training is good for 20 contact hours.

Need More Information?


Our mission is to spread the concepts and practices of TIC to as many people as possible - to get it off the therapist’s couch, if you will.

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