MCC Family Services, Inc.

sanctuaryOur Sanctuary® Commitment

The MCC Intensive Family Based Program has been awarded certification from the Sanctuary Institute at Andrus and has adopted the Sanctuary Model of treatment. Sanctuary is both a clinical and organizational intervention that serves to guide clinicians, staff, children, and families to share the same values and language. It is the way we organize our treatment and the way we work. We welcome and encourage you to adopt these principles as a guide for creating a safe and non-violent environment.

Why has MCC adopted the Sanctuary Model®?

The MCC Intensive Family Based Program and the Warkwick House Intensitve Residential Treatment program have adopted this model because we recognize and understand the connection of trauma and its effects on behavior. Sanctuary® has proven to reduce physical aggression & decrease hospitalizations, as well as promote a safe, nonviolent atmosphere for everyone in the family.

Who is required to follow this model?

Every staff member involved with this program is expected to practice these Seven Commitments in his/her daily work. We encourage you and your family to practice them too.

  • Nonviolence – being safe outside (physically),inside (emotionally), with others (socially), and doing the right thing (morally).
  • Emotional Intelligence – managing our feelings so that we do not hurt ourselves or others.
  • Social Learning – respecting and sharing the ideas with one another.
  • Shared Governance – shared decision making.
  • Open Communication – saying what we mean without being mean when we say it.
  • Social Responsibility – together we accomplish more; everyone makes a contribution.
  • Growth and Change – creating hope for youth, families, and staff.

What is the Sanctuary Language?

We have four steps, called S.E.L.F., that guide the way we work and the way families heal and make progress in their lives.

S=Safety is where we start and end. It is the foundation of healing.

E=Emotions identify what we are feeling and how to handle those feelings.

L=Loss to acknowledge and grieve painful things that have happened.

F=Future to make positive choices to create a better future for yourselves and your family.

kid-cardI have heard about Safety Plans. What are they?

Safety plans are small cards used by families and staff that list suggestions for ways to keep us safe by helping us to manage our emotions. We wear our Safety Plans so that they are available for use whenever we may be feeling overwhelmed.

Safety Plans serve as yet another tool in the traumainformed process and are a simple way of keeping alive the message that our goal is to keep everyone safe.

My family will take part in Community meetings. What are they?

Community meetings allow youth, families, and staff to make emotional connections and to share everyday struggles with one another. It is the first phase of trauma recovery for creating safety in a group. Your Family Based Team may choose to start each session with a Community Meeting. It is a healthy ritual that promotes and serves as a feelings check-in to establish a connection. Thinking about and being able to verbalize feelings is important.

Three questions are asked during Community Meetings:

How are you feeling today?

This question encourages emotional identification and teaches children and families to use words rather than actions to share their feelings.

What is your goal for today?

This question promotes self-recovery. Individual goals create structure and relate to the process of using reasoning or perception. It provides insight into what others are feeling and is important for everyone.

Whom will you ask for help?

We often forget that we can rely on other people. Asking for help allows families to regain faith that people will be there for them and support them. It also helps foster a sense of community between family members when they publicly ask each other for help. A response, “I got you”, is important for reinforcement of the commitment to be there for one another.

The community meeting concludes with a thought for the day, such as:

“Let us not look back in anger or forward with fear, but around with awareness.” ~ James Thurber

What can you do at home?

Trauma is when bad things happen. It causes intense feelings of fear, helplessness and shock. You cannot think straight and your feelings are jumbled. Not everyone responds the same way to a traumatic event. Trauma creates too much stress, and everyone has built-in ways of responding to stress. The three main ways we respond (and how our brains are set up to protect us when there is danger) are identified as Fight, Flight, or Freeze. When something dangerous happens, our body has an automatic alarm system that goes off and gets us ready to fight the danger, run away from the danger, or simply be unable to do anything at all. Even when the danger has passed our body may still be triggered to respond in one of these ways.

Some things you can do are:

  • Adopt the seven commitments of the Sanctuary Model® in your own home and daily routines.
  • Ask the three basic community meeting questions to establish a connection with your family members.
  • Make and use a safety plan.
  • Value your child’s physical, psychological, social, and moral safety.
  • Create a safe, nonviolent atmosphere for children.
  • Remember what has happened to your child, not what is “wrong” with him/her.
  • Teach boundaries: when to say no, yes, ouch, uh-oh, or oops.
  • Resolve conflict as individuals and as a team.