Puerto Cabezas

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Equipping Caregivers with Trauma Informed Care Training

ORPHANetwork has partnered with LAMb International to train caregivers, social workers, psychologists and leaders to better understand and manage the impact of trauma on the lives of the children with whom they have responsibility. In addition, we are helping those caregivers and leaders who are personally experiencing the impact of secondary trauma in their own lives.

Participant feedback from 2016 allowed LAMb to hone in on specific issues facing our children and the caregivers who are raising them during our 4th training series which was conducted on both the east and west coasts in June. Below is an overview of the topics covered and the strategies developed:

  • A one-day learning lab was conducted to reinforce managing adolescents with trauma. Our Nicaraguan partners brought real cases of youth that they are working with and practiced team treatment planning to support the adolescents. This was an interactive day where treatment plans were developed, approved and there is a plan to implement them, reporting on results at our next training this fall.
    1. Each team conducted an evaluation of a child – behaviors (positive and negative), history, current relationships, trauma history.This information was handed off to another team to develop a plan for the child to meet their needs, develop trust and ensure that the child feels safe. The handoff was to illustrate the need to be comprehensive so that if outside psychologists, Mi Familia, etc. are brought in, they will have a full history and be able to make informed recommendations.

      An example is a 15 year old girl who experiences anger and impulsive behavior, low esteem and is verbally aggressive. Lacks social skills and anxiety. Her mother, a prostitute, had 10 children.   She was separated from her Mom as an infant and later from her siblings. She does see her siblings occasionally. She likes to help out at the home.

      The plan included:

      1. Work with her to develop a schedule to help her with life skills.

      2. Develop her leadership with activities such as cooking

      3. Maintain open communication

      4. Team will meet weekly to evaluate her progress using tools from training.

  • A one-day training was conducted on child sexual abuse – this was an introduction and we will go deeper at our fall training. The focus of the training was to orient the attendees to sexual abuse and the impact on the child. We reviewed the spectrum of behaviors that are considered sexual abuse, how sexual deviance occurs and we walked through the indicators of sexual abuse and the effect on children. In our fall training we will focus on strategies for supporting the sexually abused child. The teams will be developing “House Rules” to protect children from potential inappropriate behaviors.
  • Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma Stress of the Caregiver/Worker – Anyone working with traumatized children is at high risk for secondary trauma. If this is not addressed it leads to ineffectiveness, burn out and potential health and psychological issues. Included in the training were self-assessments so that the individual could identify stressors and discussion of strategies that can be applied to the individual.

We are so thankful for our strategic partners at The Compass Church in Naperville, IL, for their investments that are making this invaluable training possible this year.

Coming in the Fall 2017

  • Child Sexual Abuse Part 2
  • Helping A Child Become More Resilient to the Impact of Trauma

Also available, our blog post from last year’s training with LAMb International. 

Trauma Informed Care Training with LAMb International

cinthia

This image is used simply to give context to the story, this is not the child referenced in the example.

From the outside she looks like a sweet and somewhat shy 11-year-old girl, for the sake of privacy we’ve changed her name to “Cinthia.” Her story is an all too familiar one for many of the rescued children who find refuge at one of our six partner orphanage homes across Nicaragua.

When her caregivers first met Cinthia they saw a child who needed a shower, clean clothes and a pair of shoes. They knew it would be tough to get her acclimated to school because she tells them she’s never been before. As they do with each child in their care, they welcomed her with open arms and prayed for the Lord’s blessing over Cinthia’s adjustment into her new home.

However, soon the child’s night terrors begin wreaking havoc on her and the 10 other girls she shares a room with. Her caregiver spends hours each night trying to comfort her back to sleep. During the day, she is anxious, she has no desire to care for personal hygiene, she is not behaving in school and she refuses to do her work. Then the most concerning behavior sets in, she begins acting out in sexually inappropriate ways.

It is hard to imagine caring for one child exhibiting such behaviors, but imagine caring for 10-15 children, 24-7, and Cinthia’s behaviors are not limited to only herself. All too often, caregivers struggle to adequately care for traumatized children and are left feeling helpless, exhausted and defeated.

As part of a three year partnership with LAMb International to develop Caregiver skills, 60 caregivers, psychologists, social workers, and educators were recently certified in Trauma Informed Care. Check out LAMb’s blog posts about the Managua and Puerto Cabezas trainings that took place this Spring.

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The Goals of Trauma Informed Care are to provide children:
  • safety
  • permanency
  • well-being

The Skills of Trauma Informed Care:

  • Understand trauma’s impact
  • Maximize felt safety
  • Help child to manage emotions
  • Help child to manage behavior
  • Support Relationships
  • Help child to understand their life story
  • Personal self-care (caregiver)

Trauma Training2Caregivers learned when working with a traumatized child, it is critical to remember that all behavior has meaning.  During one of the exercises, caregivers identified the behaviors of traumatized children and then mapped out the known traumas the children had experienced. Looking back at “Cinthia,” these were some of her behaviors:

  • Night terrors
  • Self-neglect
  • Learning problems
  • Anxiety
  • Acting out in sexually inappropriate ways
  • low self-esteem

When mapping out her known traumas, this is what her caregivers were able to identify:

age 0-1  ages 2 – 5   ages 6 – 7  ages 8 – 10  age 11 
  • Living with stepfather addicted to drugs
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Moved to live with her maternal grandmother
  • Suffers abuse by Grandma
  • Returns with her mother and another stepfather at age 6
  • Sexually abused by a neighbor
  • Lives with Grandmother for 6 months and then returns to mother who has a new boyfriend
  • Sexually and physically abused by stepfather
  • Physically abused by her older sister
  • Moves to orphanage home

 

 

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Once identifying the traumas this child has endured and understanding the impact each trauma has on the life of a child, caregivers can develop a personalized plan for each traumatized child. This plan will help the child feel safe, feel permanency from their surroundings and stability from those caring for them, and foster a sense of well-being.

 

 

These are some of the strategies identified to help Cinthia reach these goals:

  • psychological help (comprehensive plan and follow up care)
  • Nutritional plan
  • Medical assessment
  • Develop skills to cope with anxiety
  • Attention to her personal needs
  • Spiritual development

This exercise opened the eyes of our partner home caregivers, social workers, psychologists and directors and it introduced practical strategies and tools to help them understand and navigate the emotional and behavioral needs of traumatized children.

“This is the best training we have had in years. We have started teaching the rest of our staff and we are reproducing the trauma training so we can all be on the same page. This way we can improve in how to better care for our kids.” – Ewner (Director, Arms of Love Orphanage Home)

The next caregiver training sessions will take place in September of 2016. Many thanks to our partners at Mission14 and Trinity Church for funding this incredible training.

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Orphanage Graduations

Recently our children, along with their teachers and caregivers celebrated the completion of the 2013 school year. We are elated that 100% of the children eligible for high school graduation, 11 in total, successfully completed their senior year and earned their high school diploma!

Our orphanage partners are raising the future leaders of Nicaragua and they work tirelessly to ensure each child receives the highest level of education appropriate for that child. Read More

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Luau Fun~Raiser for our Kids!

We had some awesome supporters of our ministry (Barry and Katrina Levinson and Bob and Veronica Herboth) kick the summer off by introducing ORPHANetwork to their friends and family in Austin, Texas. The event was held on the grounds of the beautiful home of Barry and Katrina Levinson, and featured delicious Texas barbecue, superb entertainment that included a Hawaiian band, hula dancers, and even a fire performance. The Herboths came down from Chicago to help their friends host this beautiful evening that served our kids.

What a great first event it was for ORPHANetwork and all of the folks that came to know our ministry that evening.  We are celebrating the fantastic results that in just one night over  $23,000 was raised for our work in Nicaragua, and the icing on the cake is that five of our children in Puerto Cabezas now have a US sponsor!

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