The Sanctuary Model

Hillside is thrilled to announce our commitment to transforming our culture and organizational structure by adopting the Sanctuary Model. This trauma-informed approach will foster a community built on connection and compassion, enhancing our clients’ and staff’s care and experience. By integrating the Sanctuary Model with our existing organizational and therapeutic practices, we aspire to enrich our treatment offerings and achieve Sanctuary certification from the Sanctuary Institute. This certification marks our dedication to a higher standard of care, a trauma-sensitive environment, and an improved workplace for our team.

The Sanctuary Model is an evidence-supported framework developed to create trauma-informed organizations. It is designed to promote safety, healing, and change for the clients in care settings and the people and systems that provide the care. The model has been adopted internationally in over 250 organizations across various settings, including residential treatment facilities, schools, homeless shelters, and community programs. The Sanctuary Model emphasizes the importance of creating a safe environment where individuals can heal from trauma and address the organizational culture, thereby reducing the incidence of re-traumatization for both staff and clients.

The Sanctuary Model is grounded in trauma theory that acknowledges the widespread impact of trauma on individuals and communities. It understands that trauma affects not just those who are directly exposed but also those who provide care to traumatized individuals, leading to secondary traumatic stress or vicarious traumatization. By focusing on safety (physical, psychological, social, and moral), the model seeks to create a therapeutic community where healing can occur.

The model is built on seven core commitments: Nonviolence, Emotional Intelligence, Social Learning, Open Communication, Democracy, Social Responsibility, and Growth and Change. These commitments are designed to guide organizations in creating an environment where members learn to cope better with their feelings, manage their impulses, and communicate effectively. It encourages a democratic approach to decision-making, fostering personal and community responsibility, and embracing change as an opportunity for growth.

The impact of the Sanctuary Model on organizations is profound. It transforms the organizational culture, making it more inclusive, supportive, and responsive to the needs of its members. For clients, it provides a safe and nurturing environment that respects their experiences and aids in their recovery. It offers staff tools and a framework to manage stress and trauma, reducing burnout and turnover. Organizations report improved outcomes, including better client engagement, reduced critical incidents, and enhanced staff morale and job satisfaction.

Moreover, the Sanctuary Model aligns with broader trends toward trauma-informed care, recognizing that understanding and addressing trauma is critical to effective service provision. By adopting this model, organizations improve their immediate environment and contribute to a larger movement that values empathy, resilience, and healing.

The Sanctuary Model is not merely a method for organizational change; it is a narrative of hope, transformation, and renewal. It invites organizations to embark on a journey toward creating spaces where healing is interwoven into the fabric of daily life, where every individual is seen, heard, and valued. Through its implementation, it promises to enhance the well-being of those providing and receiving care within the organization and to ripple outward, fostering a more compassionate, understanding, and responsive world.


  • Residential Clinical Operations Director - Kimberly Young has a diverse work experience in the healthcare field. Kimberly started her career at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in 2010 as a Registered Nurse and later became a Charge Nurse. In 2017, she joined the same organization as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Kimberly then moved to Hillside, Inc in 2018, where she held multiple positions including Assistant Medical Director, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Residential Clinical Operations Director. Kimberly has a strong background in mental health and clinical operations. Kimberly Young is currently pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Baylor University, specializing in Executive Nurse Leadership. Kimberly started their DNP program in 2022 and is expected to graduate in 2023. Prior to her doctoral studies, Kimberly completed a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from the Georgia State School of Nursing and Health Professions. Kimberly pursued this degree from 2014 to 2016, focusing on Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practitioner. Furthermore, Kimberly obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the same institution, the Georgia State School of Nursing and Health Professions. Kimberly attended the school from 2008 to 2010, specializing in Nursing.