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Sanctuary Model

Foster’s Home for Children has a program they use called “Sanctuary”. Sanctuary is based off seven commitments that regulate and govern the organizations. All of their meetings are run in a certain fashion to incorporate these principles, as well as most of their day to day activities circle around the Sanctuary model.

According to KidsPeace Institute,

Sanctuary teaches an understanding of trauma and its effects on clients [(the children)] and the entire organization [(Foster's Home for Children)]. It also assumes that most children who are in treatment have experienced trauma, which, in turn, has caused or exacerbated their mental or behavioral issues. First, staff [(including mentors)] must understand that traumatized children act differently from other children in many ways including: They are likely to not avoid danger, may hurt themselves, do not learn from experience and are often unable to remember the worst things that have happened to them. According to Sanctuary, it is the responsibility of caretakers to change their approaches to treatment of traumatized children from viewing them as ill to viewing them as hurt.

Thus, instead of asking, “What is wrong with you?” clinicians ask, “What happened to you?” This removes the feeling the child may have that he is broken or sick and instead asks him to identify the external circumstances that brought him to treatment. This, in turn, prompts caretakers to begin the relationship with compassion and understanding

Essential to Sanctuary is forming a safe, nonviolent environment for clients [(the children)] and assisting them in forming healthy relationships with staff [at Foster’s Home for Children], who are role models for caring and safety. These tenets are taught to clients’ families as well to ensure that children return to nonviolent homes and caring family units. Sanctuary teaches kids to cope effectively with stress and trauma and heal their mental and behavioral health issues. It also teaches residential treatment facilities [(like Foster’s Home)] to form communities that are safe and caring and maintain a culture that reflects these qualities at every level within the organization.”

The Seven Commitments

1. Nonviolence

Safety = Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Moral

2. Emotional Intelligence

Human Behavior makes sense.

3. Social Learning

Mistakes happen and we must learn from them.

4. Social Responsibility

Information is the flow of life.

5. Shared Governance

There is power in groups and safety in numbers.

6. Open Communication

Complex problems require complex responses.

7. Growth and Change

All change means loss. Human intention can change the future.