At Ranch Ehrlo, we believe healthy relationships with staff in a supportive environment helps build participant competencies and manages behaviours.

Part of this stems from our commitment to CARE -- Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change. We take this into everything we do, including Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI).

TCI training has long been mandatory for all direct care employees, and the approach has been instrumental in helping us achieve positive results for the people we serve.

The model was created to reduce or eliminate the need for physical restraints. Staff are taught to understand some of the trauma and reasons behind behaviours of youth, children, and adults. It helps them figure out how to best approach and respond to these behaviours. 

For example, they learn to de-escalate situations by listening actively, keeping their voices low, having sympathetic facial expressions, and by having a relaxed posture.

These are extremely useful when youth or participants become upset.

In extreme cases, when the level of aggression or threat rises, staff will use mechanisms to ensure the immediate physical safety of the participant and other residents of the home.

However, the agency has been committed to reducing restraints, and we believe most situations can be handled through non-physical mechanisms.  In fact, between 2008 and 2016, physical interventions dropped by 25 per cent.

All these efforts can be attributed to staff de-escalating situations after learning techniques through TCI training.

However, more can always be done. 

Recently, Ranch Ehrlo announced it’s updating this training to the 7th edition, created through Cornell University. This will only help the agency get better at what we do, Karl Mack, the director of child youth development, explained.

“The new version will move us forward in our quest for delivering quality programs and demonstrating positive outcomes,” Karl said. “Dr. Geoff Pawson (Ranch Ehrlo’s late founder) used to teach that excellence is an illusive goal. Once you get to where you wanted to be, one must figure the next level of achievement.”  

Meanwhile, staff will continue to learn the 6th edition of TCI until the new model is rolled out.

“We have a group of amazing direct care staff and some wonderful incredible leadership at all levels of the agency,” Karl said.