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February 2021Vol. 22, No. 2Trauma-Informed Strategies for Supporting Child Welfare-Involved Children and Youth During COVID-19

Children and youth are facing increased emotional stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those involved with child welfare. Child Trends released Trauma-Informed Strategies for Supporting Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System During COVID-19 to provide guidance for child welfare administrators and staff on how to use trauma-informed strategies to promote healing and increase the resilience of children, youth, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic and their involvement in the child welfare system.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges to the child welfare system as well as to the families it serves. Disruptions to services and supports, increased financial hardship, increased stress among parents and caregivers, separation from family and social supports, and fear for their health are just some of the obstacles families are facing. It is during these difficult and ever-evolving times that it is as important to promote families' and workers' emotional safety and well-being as it is to make sure they stay physically healthy.

This brief highlights five trauma-informed ways child welfare administrators can promote emotional well-being, resilience, and healing during the pandemic:

  • Develop and implement comprehensive agency policies that are trauma informed and prioritize the emotional and physical safety of children and youth.
  • Ensure these policies and procedures are culturally informed and represent the unique needs of families.
  • Establish regular contact with children, youth, and their families and help them to maintain the important social connections in their lives.
  • Establish trauma-informed and pandemic-specific contingency plans and policies.
  • Develop a plan to address the well-being of staff.

The brief also includes additional resources for supporting children and youth involved with child welfare during the pandemic.