Normative Culture

With Normative Culture, everything we do is based on respect, responsibility, safety and goals. You’ll often hear, “Around here, we...”

normative culture teaches respectRespect
“Around here,
we greet others as we pass by in the hallway.”


normative culture teaches responsibilityResponsibility
“I make sure
I get my homework done.”


normative culture teaches safetySafety
“In our house, we call home if we are going to be late.”


normative culture encourages goal settingGoals
“I’m going to make a plan to learn how to drive.”


Understanding Normative Culture

Normative Culture is a way of behaving rather than a system of rules. It uses peer pressure in a positive way among both youths and staff to create shared expectations regarding attitudes and behavior. It also gives staff members, parents and children a common language to use when talking about these expectations.

Expected attitudes and behaviors are called “norms.” Being a member of our community requires that adults and youths alike act according to the norms of respect, responsibility, safety and achieving goals.

When someone breaks a norm, the people around him or her are expected to point out, or “confront,” the error in a helpful manner. The person being confronted is expected to accept helpful feedback in a respectful way. In Normative Culture, confrontations are seen as an opportunity to solve a problem.

Throughout the day, people look to the four norms to guide their behavior. They must take responsibility and accountability for their actions, show respect for others, keep the situation safe, and work toward achieving goals. In this way, adults and youths serve as positive role models for one another.

One tool used in our residential programs is Guided Group Interaction (GGI). Under the guidance of staff, our youths meet in small groups to take accountability for their actions and listen to the advice of their peers. Each youth is encouraged to take ownership of his or her own behavior rather than placing blame on others or on circumstances outside their control.

Through this process they learn that the power to create positive changes lies within each individual. Perhaps for the first time, they then feel capable of changing their behaviors and, consequently, their lives.

Normative Culture can be used by youths in their residence, in school and throughout their adult lives. Unlike a rules-based approach where the rules differ according to the situation, Normative Culture’s guidelines are more consistent.

As the concepts of Normative Culture have been woven into the policies and procedures of the organization, the work environment for our employees has changed as well.

The goal of Normative Culture is to develop within each individual an internal guide for behavior that is helpful in any environment.

Normative Culture helps youth with emotional and behavioral problems


Norms: Expected attitudes and behaviors.
Normative: Supporting a desirable change in expected behaviors.
Culture: A collection of learned behaviors common to a group of people.
Confrontation: Directly addressing– in a helpful manner– others’ behavior that conflicts with a norm. When you confront a behavior, you show respect for the other person’s ability to accept feedback in a positive way.
Feedback: Information given to another person in order to help that person change his or her behavior.
Accountability: Accepting ownership for all of one’s own behaviors, both negative and positive.
Commitment: Taking on and following through with a promise.


Lynn Siradas, MS, CASAC
Organizational Development Director
Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School
6395 Old Niagara Road
Lockport, NY 14094

(716) 433-4487, Ext. 457
Fax: (716) 433-7030

*To send an e-mail, use the first initial of the person's first name and the full last name, ending in

Contact Information

Lynn Siradas, MS, CASAC
Therapeutic Foster Care Director and Organizational & Staff Development Director

1455 Kensington Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14215

(716) 834-9413, Ext. 202
Fax: (716) 834-9416

E-mail addresses are the first letter of the person's first name, followed by the last name, with the ending
Example: Jane Smith would be

6395 Old Niagara Rd.
Lockport, NY 14094


accredited by COA

Accredited by the
Council on Accreditation