The Sanctuary Certification process reflects the commitment of the Sanctuary Institute to maintain and monitor fidelity of the practice of the Sanctuary model for organizations who have implemented it. Because Sanctuary is both a clinical and organizational intervention aimed at creating a trauma-informed culture, it presents some unique challenges in measuring its successful integration into an organization. Despite these challenges, the need to define successful use of the model resulted in the development of the Sanctuary Implementation Standards, the instrument used to determine certification.
The Sanctuary Implementation Standards were developed through a collaborative and iterative process that included the founders of the model, ANDRUS staff, and practitioners of Sanctuary from a number of other organizations. The standards detail the qualities that represent the successful integration of the Sanctuary model into an organization’s existing operations and culture and reflect the integral assets of a trauma-informed organization across both direct and indirect service sectors.
The certification evaluation is intended to be a collaborative exercise in social learning in which Sanctuary Institute faculty members observe program functions, interview staff and clients and review documentation. This review process is conducted by two evaluators, uses a strength-based approach to evaluation, upholds a high standard of rigor, and attempts to engage the organization in a constructive partnership to achieve success.
The certification visit is not intended to capture a snapshot of perfection, but rather to explore the ways that Sanctuary’s tools and concepts have been used to address problems or to promote learning from mistakes. These areas of exploration are equal in importance to evaluating the organization’s successes and achievements in executing Sanctuary’s tools and implementation steps.
The evaluators appraise fidelity in both observable properties (ie: safety plans are visible, community meetings are documented) and more intangible properties (ie: warmth of interactions, compassionate responses to clients). The certification evaluation effort is aimed at capturing both the process of implementing Sanctuary as well as the successful application of the Sanctuary tools and concepts.
Sanctuary certification symbolizes an organization’s commitment to providing a higher level of care, a trauma-sensitive environment for the people they serve and a better work environment for employees. Sanctuary certification requires re-evaluation every three years, as it is designed to promote, sustain and strengthen an organization’s commitment to the maintenance of a trauma informed culture for all of its stakeholders.