Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

February 2012Vol. 13, No. 1Creating Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems

A recent eReview sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Children's Mental Health at the University of Minnesota presents interviews with professionals from three different geographical areas who answer questions about how child welfare systems can implement trauma-informed practices and policies.

This eReview, the third in a series focusing on trauma and child welfare systems, highlights a host of practice models, screening tools, and other resources to foster trauma-focused systems changes across the child welfare spectrum. The review also highlights the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's (NCTSN's) Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice, which lays the foundation for the interviews. Professionals discuss how systems in their geographical areas and within their scope of work are adapting to implement these essential elements. The authors include Charles Wilson, Lisa Conradi, Erika Tullberg, Erin Sullivan-Sutton, and Christeen Borsheim.

Some of the questions addressed include:

  • How can trauma-related information be gathered when a child enters the child welfare system?
  • How can children be screened for trauma-related symptoms after entering the child welfare system?
  • How can child welfare professionals respond to the underlying causes of trauma as well as related behaviors that are adaptive during trauma but maladaptive at other times?
  • How is trauma-related information gathered from referral agencies and others when a child is referred?
  • In what ways can family members (biological and foster parents) be supported to manage children's trauma-related behaviors?

The article also describes the NCTSN Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model that is being used by nine child welfare teams across the country, partnered with mental health providers. The focus is on screening for trauma in order to improve placement stability, and the teams' recommendations may lead to the development of a new screening tool.

Read the entire article here:

NCTSN's Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice is available here:  (49 KB)

The entire eReview series on trauma is available on the Children's Mental Health eReview website:

Related Item

In June 2011, CBX covered the second issue in the trauma-specific series, "Historical Trauma, Microaggressions, and Identity: A Framework for Culturally Based Practice."