What is Crisis Nursery’s Change Team?
In August 2019, Crisis Nursery launched a new initiative to better understand and recognize how trauma, or chronic stress, impacts us all.
Working in collaboration with staff, families and stakeholders - the purpose of the Change Team is to create more effective approaches to services, policies and training - and to ultimately become more trauma informed as an organization.
Staff members at Crisis Nursery are required to complete the training course, “Trauma 101” within 60 days of their start date. The training defines trauma, explains how trauma impacts the growing brain and shares how staff members can provide care and services to families and children who have experienced or who are currently experiencing trauma.
Who is part of the current Change Team?
- Safe Children Coordinator Jill Duden;
- Director of Programming Jessica McCann;
- Development & Events Coordinator Ashley Morgan;
- Crisis Support Specialist Dana Kelly;
- Family Specialist Julia Gog;
- Volunteer Karen Pickard
- Intern Megan Lapham;
- Karen Simms, the Founding Director of Trauma & Resilience Initiative, Inc. She has been meeting with the team regularly since the group’s conception to help set goals, define successes and keep everyone on track.
What are the Change Team’s goals?
- Maintain a safe, predictable and inviting space for families
- Ensure families are receiving the same message, each day of the week
- Create opportunities for self-regulation among staff & children
- Grow together through feedback and training to learn how Crisis Nursery can better serve families affected by trauma
- Become stronger by understanding our differences and how we can work together through training and updated policies.
What are the Change Team’s current priorities?
At their most recent meeting, members discussed inclusion at the Nursery. Main topics of discussion included:
Staff members are prioritizing the representation of families of various backgrounds to be included around the building. Adding a diverse selection of books and toys to the collection is already in the works.
Megan is working on a special project exclusively on the topic of inclusivity. She has been connecting with families to see how the Nursery can reduce barriers to ease access to our services. Megan is also working on graphics to show ‘social stories,’ or very simple stories staff can read to kiddos that explain social issues. For example, here is a social story about skin tones, created by Autism Little Learners. The goal is to create these for kiddos to explain all types of diversity: race, same-sex marriage, disabilities, etc.
The Nursery will be implementing trainings for staff and volunteers, which will involve different scenarios on how to answer questions children may have pertaining to race or culture.
Constant shifts with COVID-19-related protocol can take a toll on all of us. To boost morale, the team brainstormed different ideas. Director of Programming, Jessica McCann, recently added a space in her office for staff to leave positive notes for others. Positive affirmation stations have been added to the bathrooms to spread cheer and happiness!
Another piece of the Change Team’s meeting included adding check-ins before and after shifts to discuss how staff members are feeling. It will give staff members an opportunity to check in and check out with themselves.
The Nursery has hosted two parent feedback forums in 2020 where parents highlighted the need to offer consistent messaging related to policies and procedure. Parents also brought up ways the Nursery can better communicate our services with the community of parents and providers.
Additionally, Megan created a survey to gather parents’ feedback on racial and cultural inclusivity, which aligns with Crisis Nursery’s goal of becoming culturally competent.
As a result from parents’ feedback, the Change Team has hosted and will continue to host educational outreach presentations to inform community partners on different ways they can explain what the Nursery offers, in a more inviting way that creates less fear.
We are working on putting together a virtual advisory committee consisting of parents and agency partners to continue gathering feedback for services during COVID-19 response.
“Looking forward, we hope to realign intake, paperwork and survey/assessment procedures to be more trauma-informed as well,” Jessica said.” This means providing paperwork and intake procedures that are understandable, regardless of language spoken or literacy/educational level."