The Ecumenical Center has provided trauma-specific services since our founding in 1967. We have always recognized the prevalence of trauma and its deep impact on brain development and overall health. But it wasn’t until 2018, when we joined the South Texas Trauma Informed Care Consortium, that we realized the power of taking a trauma informed approach from an individual level to an organizational certification. More and more nonprofits and healing professions are recognizing this and multiplying the potential for enhanced healing and improved outcomes in our communities.
Through a competitive process, The Consortium selected The Ecumenical Center as the trauma informed certifying entity in 2019. Early the next year, we launched The Center for Trauma Informed Certification and dived into the immense research required. As the first entity to provide trauma informed certification for organizations in Texas, and one of very few nationally, we blazed a new trail.
We started by consulting national experts, conducting online surveys, soliciting input from focus groups, and studying evidence-based models. We made sure to incorporate the unique local culture and strengths of Bexar County by engaging with more than 160 organizations and 12 community sectors to develop the certification. We have now written all the domains, standards, definitions and procedures for Level one certification, with Levels two and three in progress. The certification is rigorous and meaningful while being accessible and flexible. We’re proud to report that this certification is officially open to the community.
After an organization submits an interest form, we collaborate to implement a trauma informed care model that works best for them. The candidate group can complete requirements at their own pace. After we review submitted documentation and perform a site review, The Center certifies that organization as trauma informed. Then the important work of maintaining a trauma informed environment for clients, staff and visitors begins.
We want to help as many organizations as possible make their clients feel safe, confident and valued. In the future, we plan to reach organizations beyond Bexar County and in other states. The support and demand we’ve already seen are promising! To learn more about becoming a trauma informed organization, visit ecrh.org/trauma-informed-organizations or contact email@example.com.