One of Back2Back’s main initiatives in the Dominican Republic is offering Trauma Competent Care trainings (TCC) to local ministries and organizations. This research-based training is designed to give caregivers a compassionate understanding of complex developmental trauma, and how it effects the body, biology, brain, behavior, and belief system of children from hard places. The training provides strategies caregivers need to bring healing to the children they serve through connection, empowerment, and correction. As of 2019, over 260 individuals have attended, representing thousands of children in the DR.
The concepts taught in Trauma Competent Care trainings can seem counterintuitive. Instead of focusing on behavior management and control, it emphasizes connection. It’s been an opportunity for TCC participants to work through their generational and cultural patterns. Many of the participants openly shared their personal experiences of abusive correction at the hands of their parents, and acknowledged this “correction” intended to bring about behavioral change, actually brought about shame and fear. Armed with new knowledge and new tools, these participants are striving to correct the children they serve in more positive ways.
Last year, we received an e-mail from Kaela, who works in a ministry serving 1,800 children from hard places in schools and residential care facilities. Kaela and many of her colleagues have attended the Trauma Competent Care trainings. She said, “The school in Constanza, DR was facing extreme discipline problems, including students running out of the classrooms 30 plus times a day, acts of violence, and even multiple threats of suicide daily. After staff began learning about the TCC approach, changing practices, and implementing new policies/procedures, we have gone down to less than one child running out of class a week, and almost no suicide threats at all.” Kaela specifically said the TCC correction strategies have helped their staff maintain peace, joy, and love while modeling appropriate behavior in very difficult circumstances.
Kaela shared with us her staff feel like they have found the “missing piece of the puzzle” in TCC. The trainings have impacted their ministry so much, they have decided to make TCC a required training for all 250 staff members. They now have two individuals on staff dedicated to the implementation of TCC principals into their programs.
Ultimately, we are excited to see God restoring lives through the Trauma Competent Care training He’s given us. The hope and prayer is more lives in the Dominican Republic will be changed this year, and in years to come.