Last Updated:

 03/22/13 10:09:09 AM


Since 1886, the mission of St. Catherine's has been to provide quality care and treatment to children and families in need. Today, as a leading social service agency focusing on issues of child abuse and neglect, mental health, and homelessness, we strive to meet the continuing needs of the community. St. Catherine's believes that as a community, we all share the children and families who come through our doors. We make every effort to connect those we serve to as many supports as possible... at school, in families, to neighborhood programs or other private and public agencies serving children and families.

  Creating Sanctuary in Our Programs

What is Sanctuary?


Sanctuary is a trauma-informed method for creating or changing an organizational culture in order to more effectively provide a cohesive context in which healing from psychological and social trauma can be addressed.


The Sanctuary Modelฎ is a guide for forming and maintaining a therapeutic community that promotes safety and non-violence as the basis for our efforts to help children and families heal.


Sanctuary uses SELF as a framework. SELF can be viewed as a map to a journey

1. Safety

2. Emotional Management

3. Loss

4. Future


When a person experiences a TRAUMATIC event, some sort of LOSS is experienced. when a loss is experienced, a person may feel overwhelming EMOTIONS. These overwhelming emotions often lead to UNSAFE behavior. This unsafe behavior has consequences that affect a person's FUTURE.


Why do we use Sanctuary?


Sanctuary is based on an understanding of trauma and how it affects individual clients as well as whole systems or organizations.


• We believe that most children who come for treatment in our settings have experienced trauma and can benefit from trauma-informed care.

• We believe that working with traumatized clients is very stressful and can lead to agencies becoming "trauma-organized".

• Sanctuary is a guide for changing the culture of an organization to one that helps children and families recover from trauma.


We call our shared values commitments because everyone at St. Catherine's Center for Children is expected to practice these Commitments in their daily work.


Seven Commitments of Sanctuary


• Commitment to Nonviolence: being safe outside (physically), inside (emotionally), with others (socially), and to do the right thing (morally);

• Commitment to Emotional Intelligence: managing our feelings so that we don't hurt ourselves or others;

• Commitment to Social Learning: respecting and sharing the ideas of our teams;

• Commitment to Shared Governance: being committed to shared decision making;

• Commitment to Open Communication: saying what we mean and not being mean when we say it;

• Commitment to Social Responsibility: together we accomplish more, as everyone makes a contribution to the organizational culture;

• Commitment to Growth and Change: creating hope for our clients and ourselves.