One recent evening, a couple sat in Klingberg’s Phillip Corbin room for a foster parent training while their four grandchildren played downstairs, supervised by Klingberg staff. At one point, they were distracted by their grandson tapping on the door. When he tapped again, harder, clearly aggravated, they went to investigate. Returning a few minutes later, the child calmed and the situation resolved, the grandfather said, “I wish I had intervened sooner.” It was an epiphany inspired by the training he had experienced that same week, through which he had learned new verbal de-escalation techniques.
Developed by Cornell University and their Residential Child Care Project in the 1980’s and adopted by Klingberg in 2001, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) is a training system for childcare workers designed to help them address the emotions behind difficult behavior and more effectively de-escalate and prevent crises. Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families (TCIF) is a slightly modified version of the training.
TCI training is often counterintuitive, as it focuses on the emotions underlying a child’s actions. Once a child feels heard and understood, he/she is able to calm down more quickly. The abovementioned grandparents are not inexperienced—they have had the care of their grandchildren for the past few years—but they have made great progress in their ability to care for them well with the help of trainings like this one.
Klingberg Family Centers is privileged to have several TCI instructors, with Jaime Morales and Barbara DiValentino, Staff Development Coordinator, certified to teach TCIF. Barbara also earned her Professional Certification, the highest level of certification offered by the Residential Child Care Project, in January of 2015. She is one of only 35 Professionally Certified Trainers listed on Cornell University’s online registry. The certification took Barbara eighteen months to acquire and allows her to certify external participants as opposed to only Klingberg employees, thus extending Klingberg’s reach to help more children and families. We are so proud of Barbara’s accomplishment and thankful to have such a dedicated and passionate person on our team!