Ashley Melson

White Fields is excited to announce our participation in a project in conjunction with OKDHS, The Halo Project, and Texas Christian University. Over the last 10 years or so, Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross of the TCU Institute for Child Development have developed a model of caregiving called Trust-Based Relational Intervention, which is designed for children from “hard places.” TBRI is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs (such as sensory deprivation), Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection. As relationships are what hurt these children in the past, relationships are the necessary vehicle for healing going forward.

TCU, in partnership with The HALO Project here in OKC, is leading the way to bring the TBRI to Oklahoma’s Child Welfare system. They have created a pilot program called the Oklahoma TBRI Collaborative for Children (OTCC). This is a research project designed to show the effectiveness of TBRI in a large system, with the goal of implementing TBRI throughout foster care, adoption agencies, residential facilities, courts, CASA, psychiatric hospitals, and juvenile detention centers. Currently, the system can be quite fractured with communication issues and differences in understanding of trauma and its impact on children, which can lead to children being further re-traumatized by the system itself. The dream is that, eventually, any DHS caseworker, judge, and treatment facility can come together and make the best trauma-informed decisions for a child using language and approaches that everyone understands. By demonstrating the efficacy of TBRI in this pilot program, we hope that TBRI training can be extended to all entities that interact with children in child welfare.

A select group of organizations were chosen to participate in this pilot, with White Fields being the only group home. We are proud and excited to help lead the way in improving group home care in our state by implementing TBRI in our unique setting. As a part of this project, White Fields staff will be participating in training with TCU and HALO over the next year. We will be working closely with our mentors to brainstorm new ways of meeting our clients’ unique needs in a residential setting, and they will provide coaching for addressing barriers or challenges that come up. We will be collecting data and providing feedback in order to demonstrate efficacy over the course of the pilot project.

We are thrilled to be participating in such an innovative and important project in our state. We know that the trauma our children have experienced has impacted their brains, bodies, minds, and hearts, and TBRI offers the holistic tools necessary to help them begin the journey of healing. For more information on TBRI and children from hard places, watch this short clip!


Ashley Melson, LCSW

White Fields’ Clinical Coordinator



Comments are closed