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October 2014Vol. 15, No. 9Attachment and Child Welfare Practice

The July 2014 issue of Practice Notes, a newsletter produced by the North Carolina Division of Social Services (NC DSS) and the Family and Children's Resource Program, is focused on attachment and child welfare practice. In order to best serve the children and families that come to the attention of NC DSS, it is important that child welfare professionals are "attachment literate." This issue examines what attachment is, how it works, and ways of effectively responding to attachment problems.

The first article, "Why Attachment Matters," discusses why attachment is important to healthy development and how it occurs. Secure attachment—the strong emotional bond between child and primary caregiver that makes a child feel safe and loved—is a powerful influence that positively affects the brain development, social and emotional development, and self-regulation of children. The article also touches on the effects of trauma on attachment and what child welfare workers can do to support secure attachment between children and biological and resource parents.

Other articles in this issue discuss:

  • Identifying attachment problems, specifically insecure and disorganized attachment
  • Working with families experiencing attachment difficulties, with a focus on supporting caregivers and the use of attachment-informed mental health treatments
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder, a rare disruptive disorder that results from a child's nonattachment with a caregiver, its newly updated DSM-V definition, diagnosis, and treatment
  • The revised "Assessing and Strengthening Attachment," a 2-day classroom course developed by the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work for NC Division of Social Services workers and supervisors
  • Strategies for supporting the resiliency of child welfare workers who may be experiencing vicarious trauma

Practice Notes, 19(3), 2014, is available here: