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February 2012Vol. 13, No. 1Integrating Trauma-Informed Practice in CPS Delivery

Child welfare professionals are not always aware of the symptoms and consequences of trauma and may be ill-equipped to provide services. In the summer of 2011, the Children's Bureau issued a funding opportunity announcement for the Integrating Trauma-Informed and Trauma-Focused Practice in Child Protective Service (CPS) Delivery grant cluster. The applicants were asked to create trauma-informed child welfare systems and to replace portions of their current service array with evidence-based or evidence-informed treatments shown to reduce the effects of traumatic stress. In September 2011, the Children's Bureau awarded 5-year cooperative agreements to the following five organizations:

  • Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF): The Massachusetts Child Trauma Project (MCPT) will target children aged 0 to 18 years with complex trauma who are in care through MA DCF. MCPT will provide training and ongoing consultation on evidence-based treatments, such as Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC); Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP); and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Additionally, MCPT will use a Breakthrough Series Collaborative approach in each Area Office to support and coach local teams as they implement trauma-informed practice changes.
  • North Carolina Division of Social Services: Project Broadcast will serve young children (ages 0 to 5) and youth (ages 13 to 18) disproportionately represented in the North Carolina child welfare system. It will provide training, support, and infrastructure to mental health professionals using the following models: the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Child Welfare Trauma Toolkit (CW TTT) and Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC), Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS), and Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) across nine counties. Additionally, certain demonstration counties will receive training in TF-CBT and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). In addition, Project Broadcast will develop an online roster of trained clinicians, offer access to expert clinical consultation for those clinicians, and provide access to upcoming training opportunities for clinicians interested in learning evidence-based treatments (EBTs).
  • Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF): The Connecticut Collaborative on Effective Practices for Trauma (CONCEPT) will target trauma-exposed children aged 5 to 18 years in the Connecticut child welfare system. The project will help create a more trauma-informed workforce and institutionalize universal trauma screening, assessment, and referrals for trauma-focused services, as well as increase collaboration with community service providers. CONCEPT will implement TF-CBT and the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) in DCF facilities and community provider agencies. Additionally, the project will focus on infrastructure development and the modification of policies to support screening, assessment, and referrals.
  • The National Native Children's Trauma Center of the University of Montana: The Transforming Tribal Child Protective Services (TTCPS) project will develop culturally responsive, evidence-based detection, treatment, and prevention mechanisms for children and families involved with the Tribal child welfare system. The project also will address secondary traumatic stress in the adult workforce. Initially, three Tribal demonstration sites will participate, with three additional sites joining in the third year of the project. TTCPS will conduct training for private agency clinicians on TF-CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Trauma-Informed Positive Behavior Supports (PBS), Secondary Traumatic Stress Intervention (STSI), ARC, and CW TTT.
  • University of Colorado Denver: The Creating a Trauma-Infused Child Welfare System project will seek to expand the evidence-based mental health treatment available for children ages 0 to 18, ensure child welfare staff can perform trauma-focused assessments, and educate professionals and family members about trauma-informed care. The target population for this project is children aged birth to 18 who are involved with the Denver child welfare system. Key activities for this project include universal assessment of children's exposure to traumatic events and its effects and cross-system training for child welfare staff, administrators, and managers; juvenile court personnel and attorneys; probation staff; law enforcement; and resource parents. Project staff will also conduct training for private agency clinicians on evidence-based trauma treatments, such as CPP and Alternatives for Families – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT).

The focus of the first year of this initiative will be extensive assessment and planning activities, with the remaining 4 years focusing on implementation. Additionally, each project will conduct an evaluation of its activities and identify ways to sustain efforts.

For more information, contact Joyce Pfennig at