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June 2019Vol. 20, No. 5Trauma-Informed Self-Care Measure for Child Welfare Workers

The emotionally stressful situations that child welfare professionals can find themselves in, often coupled with large workloads, can lead to secondary trauma and burnout. Carrying that stress and trauma can have a negative effect on their well-being, both physically and emotionally.

An article from Children and Youth Services Review focuses on a study that aimed to evaluate and revise the Trauma-Informed Self-Care (TISC) measure for child welfare professionals to better assess their level of self-care and to address possible areas where their needs are not being met. It also sought to clarify items in the measure, test additional items related to prevailing trauma-informed and self-care literature, confirm preliminary factors, and further test the reliability and validity of the revised measure. 

In this study, 177 child welfare workers were surveyed on measures such as burnout, secondary traumatic stress, psychological well-being, and more. The results from the survey, which were divided into subscales, indicated overall reliability for the TISC measure. It was negatively associated with burnout and secondary traumatic stress and positively associated with psychological well-being, among others.  

The study also discusses the following implications for practice:

  • Agencies should collaborate with child welfare workers to create and uphold strategies aimed at upholding work-life balance.
  • Trauma-informed training should be implemented and offered on a regular basis.
  • The workforce structure and culture should be designed to include multiple ways to provide support and feedback, such as peer support and regular supportive feedback.
  • The TISC measure can be used with child welfare workers and supervisors to assess and monitor trauma-informed self-care practices.
  • Organizations can use the TISC as a checklist of trauma-informed resources to be provided to staff.

"Development of a trauma-informed self-care measure with child welfare workers," by Alison Salloum, Mi Jin Choi, & Carla Smith Stover (Children and Youth Services Review, 93) is available at