TIDE stands for: Trauma Informed Development and Education.

The TIDE project supported an organization-wide shift toward trauma-informed practice (TIP) across the YWCA Toronto, a large multi-service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the Toronto area. The CEWH was the research partner on this four-year project, which spanned 2016-2020. The many resources developed during the TIDE project are now available on the YWCA website, as well as here.

YWCA Toronto helps over 13,000 women and girls a year to secure housing, find jobs, find safety from violence, enhance skills, integrate into Canadian society, and develop confidence. Like a lot of complex social service organizations in Canada, there was a need for a consistent trauma-informed approach across several hundred staff and 35 programs.

The first challenge was in developing a baseline of current knowledge and understanding about trauma informed practice. We developed a staff survey and did interviews with leaders to establish readiness for change.

Second, the CEWH worked with YWCA leaders to develop a framework for organizational change that was ultimately integrated into the YWCA quality improvement approach, and created a useful way to measure progress. Leaders were encouraged to make a commitment to TIP.

Third, we embarked on intensive training with all staff across programs, and with leaders. This included training for front line workers, administrative staff, human resource staff, reception, housekeeping and maintenance staff. The training resources include worksheets and training presentations on TIP, and are all available at the YWCA’s website.

Fourth, we engaged with participants of the YWCA programs to co-develop and pilot a training guide for women to increase understanding of TIP and to encourage leadership development. This can be used as a self-guide or in small groups. We also created a facilitators manual for peer leaders.

The project was very successful in increasing knowledge and awareness of trauma and TIP, as well as skills and practices of staff, and leadership. We paid special attention to preventing vicarious trauma among staff, as part of the project. A series of surveys over 2016-2020 showed engagement, changed practices, and increased capacity to deliver trauma-informed services. In short, a cultural shift occurred across the whole organization. See Nancy Poole summarize the organizational shift to TIP at the YWCA Toronto.

Financial assistance for the TIDE project came from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Key Resources