By Stephanie Seaton, Director of Project Implementation
In 2017, we began implementing the CARE model, a comprehensive practice model that guides everything we do at Hoyleton. We are one of only 50 agencies nationally, and the only one serving youth in southern Illinois, that follows this model. It guides how we interact with the people we serve in the community and also our own goals and values and how we treat each other internally. It shapes every facet of our organization’s culture.
The CARE model was developed at Cornell University and is rooted in six core principles:
These principles have been applied agency-wide since the CARE model’s adoption, particularly when interacting with our youth, many of whom have a history of trauma, CARE has shifted how we think about disruptive youth by changing the conversation from “What is wrong with them?” to “What has happened to them?” It shifts from the behavior to the story behind the behavior, which allows for more focused conversation instead of reactionary measures. It can be easy to take certain behaviors personally, but recognizing that it’s coming from a place of trauma response not only makes conversations possible but humanizes clients in meaningful ways.
CARE has also given our organization a common language to speak with clients and each other. Our staff has a wide range of education levels in terms of social work, psychology, therapy and other backgrounds. What may seem like common language to one of those groups may be new to another because of its clinical nature. CARE helps keep conversations consistent and understandable for all people involved because it gives us a shared vocabulary rooted in understanding and trauma care.
What’s amazing about the CARE model is that it spills into the overall work/life relationship of our team as well. Thinking in terms of events that inﬂuence behavior instead of behavior itself helps team members have more grace with one another. It helps us remember small gestures go a long way to show care and encourages us to think about what little things we can do for one another. People forget how embedded the CARE model is in our culture because of how second nature its principles come to us.
This is what a good practice model does: it embeds itself. It becomes so much a part of the culture that CARE becomes the norm. CARE and its principles are so powerful because it strengthens the possibility for empathy. This is what Hoyleton is all about when it comes to our interactions with clients and each other.
Learn more about our approach to CARE by visiting our approach page.