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May 2005Vol. 6, No. 4Helping Children in the Child Welfare System Heal from Trauma

Recently, more attention has been paid to understanding and improving the interaction of systems that become involved with a child immediately following maltreatment (e.g., child protective and law enforcement systems). However, less is known about how systems that become involved with these children later, including mental health agencies and schools, incorporate trauma-related information and expertise into their response to children and families.

Treating Child Trauma: A Systems Integration Approach, by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Systems Integration Working Group, reports on the results of a survey conducted among 53 of these later-stage agencies in 11 communities. The survey was used to assess (1) the ways the agencies gather, assess, and share trauma-related information and (2) the basic training about child trauma their staff members receive. While this survey is a small first step, the ultimate goal is to identify gaps in communication among agencies and systems and to develop training and educational materials to improve collaboration on issues associated with child maltreatment and trauma.

Along with survey findings, the 41-page report includes recommendations for a number of groups, including family and dependency courts, public child welfare agencies, foster care agencies, mental health agencies, and schools, as well as for members of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

The report is available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website at (Editor's note: Link no longer active).