Everyone knows about TiCTaCs right? The tiny little breath mint candies that come in the adorable little boxes? They are typically found in the grocery store checkout aisles and gas stations. They’re offered in a variety of colors and flavors! So why are we sitting here talking about candy? This tiny treat is often mentioned during our work with DSS agencies and other community agencies. These fun little candies appear to have very little significance, but they have a much bigger meaning in our local communities.
The term TiCTaC has further meaning within the realm of Benchmarks and its partners: it is an acronym for a Trauma Informed and Trauma Aware Community. It has become synonymous with our local communities’ efforts in becoming Trauma Informed and Trauma Aware Communities. Benchmarks is coming alongside these efforts with the implementation of our Partnering for Excellence (PFE) and Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) processes across the state. These processes are striving to ensure that strategies are being developed and implemented allowing children in Child Welfare access to specific resources. These resources include standardized trauma screenings, Trauma Informed Comprehensive Clinical Assessments (TiCCAs), and appropriate diagnoses and treatment recommendations. In addition, these resources are provided to children and families typically within 60 days of their initial involvement with the Child Welfare system.
As they engage in local implementation practices, our Child Welfare, mental health, court, and other community partners attend trainings and workgroups to learn more about trauma and its effects on their communities. Throughout the training process, partners acquire specific knowledge pertaining to various aspects of operating through a trauma-informed lens. During trainings, participants who share ideas that promote the concept of working from a Trauma Informed and Trauma Aware lens, are praised and awarded with their own little box of TiCTaC candies. Also, anytime a trauma-informed or aware process is mentioned, or participants want to agree with a statement, they can shake their box of TiCTaCs in agreement. Far from being disruptive to the training process, it is an encouraging sound and verification in the midst of training that we are all on the same team and page when it comes to trauma-informed and aware work. This has become a fun way to engage participants in training, as well as reinforce the Trauma-Informed Trauma Aware Community ideal. The training process creates more Trauma-Informed and Trauma-Aware professionals with the understanding that children (and adults) are not acting out due to lack of discipline or self-control, but due to their trauma history and traumatic experiences. While this concept expands amongst those in local communities, more individuals and agencies are coming forward to request resources that work towards building resilience of local children, families, organizations, and ultimately their communities at large.