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April 2017Vol. 18, No. 2Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services

Trauma can have a profound effect on how a person learns; interacts with others; and develops mentally, physically, or emotionally. Human services agencies that use a trauma-informed approach develop programs and services that take into account the effects of trauma on individuals, children, and families. A new resource guide produced by several Federal agencies provides human services leaders and other stakeholders at the local, State, Tribal, and territorial levels with information and resources on recent advances in trauma and what these advances mean for program design and service delivery. It also teaches professionals about trauma-informed care and helps those currently engaged in trauma-informed work to improve their practice.

The guide is divided into the following four sections:

  • Concept Papers—Focuses on six key concepts (trauma, toxic stress, resilience, historical trauma, executive functioning, and compassion fatigue) associated with trauma-informed care that are particularly important for human services providers interested in expanding their understanding of trauma and its implications for service delivery.
  • Guidance Questions and Answers—Answers questions about trauma and trauma-informed care and provides a foundational background that may help human services professionals develop their trauma-informed approach. One subsection, Q&A: Trauma, defines trauma and discusses how trauma may affect brain development. Another section, Q&A: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), defines ACEs and provides links to the ACEs Study, which is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente.
  • Trauma Resources for Specific Human Services Programs or Populations—Provides links to information about aging populations, American Indian/Alaska Native populations, early childhood programs, emergency/crisis services, and more.
  • Community Spotlights—Highlights lessons learned and promising practices from Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; San Francisco, CA; and Walla Walla, WA.

The complete Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services was produced by the collaborative efforts of the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living, and the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. It is available at