Organizational Checklist

For most organizations, a commitment to trauma-informed practice can represent a shift in culture and values. A widespread commitment to trauma-informed practice ensures that all people will encounter services that are sensitive to the impact of trauma. Every organization should have a clearly written policy statement or paper that publicly declares its commitment to trauma-informed services, and makes it clear that incorporating these practices is a priority issue for the organization.

The organizational checklist outlined here is based on one developed by Nancy Poole, Rose Schmidt and their colleagues at the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health. The checklist included here has been modified and added to for general purposes of this Trauma Toolkit. The checklist is a tool that can be utilized by organizations as a guideline for the implementation of trauma-informed practice. It has been developed as a starting point for the ongoing process of becoming a trauma-informed system or organization.

Overall Policy and Program Mandate Criteria

  • Clearly written policy statement
  • Your organization has a policy or position statement that includes a commitment to trauma-informed principles and practices
  • The policy/position statement identifies the relationship between trauma and programming, and the implications for service access and design
  • The policy/position statement is endorsed by leadership

Evidence-informed practices

  • Services are based on an optimistic, strength-based and evidence-informed, trauma-informed model

Overall leadership style

  • Program directors and clinical supervisors understand the work of direct care staff as it relates to the provision of services to people who have experienced trauma
  • Leadership allows staff time and other resources (e.g. space, money) to focus on implementing traumainformed services
    • leadership is aware of the impact that trauma has on its workforce, and that many of its employees have been affected by traumatic events in their lives
    • leadership promotes democratic principles


  • Collaboration and shared decision-making is a key part of leadership style. Collaboration is inclusive of consumers in the development of trauma-informed approaches
  • Clients/patients/residents (C/P/R) and staff are encouraged to provide suggestions, feedback and ideas, and a structured and transparent process is in place

Point of Responsibility

  • There is a clearly defined point of responsibility for implementing trauma-informed services. This may involve a trauma “initiative,” committee or working group that includes consumers and is fully supported and endorsed by administration

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