Spaulding Youth Center Honored with $50,000.00 Grant from van Otterloo Family Foundation for Campus-Wide TBRI® Training

August 29, 2018

Spaulding Youth Center is thrilled to announce it has been honored with a grant of $50,000.00 by the van Otterloo Family Foundation to continue implementing Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) as a key programming component at Spaulding Youth Center. The grant will fund initial classroom costs to train additional staff members and support the strategic goal to implement TBRI® strategies throughout campus in 2018.

Designed and presented by the Texas-based Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, the TBRI® method of caregiving is a holistic, evidence-based, trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from hard places, such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, violence and other traumas.

The field of trauma informed care has grown rapidly over the past ten years and evidence-based research is leading to new best practices, especially when it comes to children and their education. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “in the brains of traumatized youth, neural pathways associated with fear and survival responses are strongly developed, leaving some children in a state of hyperarousal that causes them to overreact to incidents other children would find nonthreatening, the research shows. Consumed by fear, they find it difficult to achieve a state of calmness that would allow them to process verbal instructions and learn.” (

In recent years, the number of children coming to Spaulding Youth Center with traumatic histories has been increasing. Spaulding is seeing greater numbers of very young children who have been severely affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). With a trauma informed approach, staff recognize and understand the signs of ACEs. They use anger and grief management and applied behavior analysis to help the child develop self-calming techniques. These approaches are far more conducive to healthy and productive learning and social interactions not just for the child, but for the other children in the classroom and residences as well. It also helps to build healthy attachments that the children and their families will be able to translate to all relationships in their lives so that they are not defined by their trauma.

In December 2017, the van Otterloo Family Foundation awarded a generous $40,000.00 grant to Spaulding Youth Center to fund comprehensive professional development training and continued implementation of a trauma-informed system throughout the organization’s three core program areas: academic, residential and community-based. With this initial investment, 65 Spaulding Youth Center staff were trained in TBRI® and 12 more are currently in training.

“The generous support and continued investment by the van Otterloo Family Foundation has sparked an immediate and profound shift in our therapeutic culture,” said Susan C. Ryan, CEO & President of Spaulding Youth Center. “One of Spaulding Youth Center’s greatest strengths is our unique ability to tailor a child’s educational and residential experience to his or her specific needs and treatment plan. With TBRI® training and the support of the van Otterloo Family Foundation, we are adding to the excellent approaches we already have in place which continues to strengthen our ability to provide each child and their families with a clear path toward a happier, healthier and more successful future.”

The van Otterloo Foundation was established in 1997 with a mission to provide support for educational enterprises that demonstrate innovation and excellence in teaching and learning while placing emphasis on the potential of all individuals, target unmet educational needs or provide an exemplary educational program.

About Spaulding Youth Center

Spaulding Youth Center is a leading provider of services for children and youth with neurological, emotional, behavioral, learning and/or developmental challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and those who have experienced significant trauma, abuse or neglect. Services include academic, behavioral health, residential, foster care, health and wellness and family support. Spaulding Youth Center is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For information about Spaulding Youth Center, visit

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