• February 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 2

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The Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care

Children who have been placed in care because of abuse or neglect likely experience further trauma after entering the system, including separation from family, friends, and community, as well as the uncertainty of their future. A publication published by the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) discusses the consequences that these multiple sources of trauma and stress can have on the long-term physical, social, and emotional well-being of these children and how trauma-informed care can lead to better outcomes.

Authors Eva Klain and Amanda White, from the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, summarize research on the effects of trauma on children in foster care and the benefits of trauma-informed interventions and treatments. They also describe a number of promising evidence-based therapies that help children learn coping skills, manage trauma-induced responses, and form healthy relationships. The authors also point to models of trauma-informed practices for child welfare agencies, the juvenile courts system, and legal representatives. For each model, links to more detailed information are provided.

The authors conclude by presenting five trauma-informed practice recommendations, including:

  1. Educating stakeholders about the effects of trauma on children and families
  2. Ensuring that children entering the child welfare system are screened and assessed for trauma
  3. Referring children to appropriate evidence-based, trauma-specific treatments
  4. Providing information and trauma-related services to families and caregivers
  5. Engaging stakeholders in the recovery process

Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Child Welfare was published by SPARC, an initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and is available from the SPARC website:

http://childwelfaresparc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Implementing-Trauma-Informed-Practices.pdf (276 KB)

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