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October 2019Vol. 20, No. 8Building Protective Factors to Support Resilience to Childhood Trauma

A brief from Child Trends looks at current research and practice surrounding trauma-informed care (TIC) and how to implement TIC to promote resilience in trauma-exposed children. The brief examines childhood trauma-related risk factors associated with poor outcomes and protective factors that can support resilience. It also includes a framework for implementing trauma-informed care for children and families.

The brief discusses the many ways childhood trauma can impact an individual: behavioral health, brain development, cognition, emotional health, relationships, and mental health. The brief emphasizes that knowledge of trauma is only one aspect of TIC and points to "the four Rs" essential to integrating true TIC in practice with children and families:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and the potential paths to recovery
  • Recognize the signs of trauma
  • Respond by integrating knowledge of trauma into policies and practices
  • Resist retraumatization

The brief also includes strategies for addressing secondary traumatic stress in adults who care for trauma-exposed children.

How to Implement Trauma-Informed Care to Build Resilience to Childhood Trauma is available at