Resources Specific to Child Welfare Agencies

What do we mean by trauma-informed services and why is such an approach important?

We’ve begun working on these issues, but are trying to decide what to tackle next. How can I figure out my next steps?

  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NTSCN) has published The Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit Visit disclaimer page to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic events. The toolkit teaches strategies for using trauma-informed child welfare practice to enhance the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families who are involved in the child welfare system. It includes a Trainer’s Guide, Appendices, Slidekit, Participant Manual, Supplemental Handouts, recommended reading and resources, Comprehensive Guide, and an accompanying CD-Rom. Note the site requires registration and login to access the materials.
  • The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a federally funded information clearinghouse, has developed several materials related to trauma informed care. These include a piece on implementing trauma informed child welfare practices (PDF) Visit disclaimer page , a resource list on responding to trauma Visit disclaimer page , and an issue brief (PDF) Visit disclaimer page on developing a trauma informed child welfare system.
  • Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care Visit disclaimer page describes how important it is for people working in youth-serving systems to understand young people’s responses to trauma in order to promote healing and emotional security. Trauma-informed practice involves understanding the impact of trauma on young people’s current functioning and recognizing the ways systems are capable of adding to young people’s trauma. Trauma-informed practice provides supports and opportunities to promote healthy recovery and optimal brain development throughout adolescence and emerging adulthood. This resource was developed by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiatives.
  • The Child Welfare Information Gateway, funded by the Children’s Bureau, has listed numerous resources Visit disclaimer page on Trauma-Informed Care for Caseworkers
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NTSCN (PDF) Visit disclaimer page ) produced this guide for addressing secondary trauma experienced by staff who work with children and families who may have experienced multiple traumas over the course of years and generations. The guide (PDF) Visit disclaimer page specifically addresses secondary trauma experienced by child welfare staff, but is applicable to a range of human services practitioners, include early care and education providers and staff.
  • The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (NCFY) has published a new online course designed for professionals working with children and youth exposed to traumatic events. Trauma-Informed Care Visit disclaimer page (free registration required) introduces users to the causes and signs of traumatic stress, factors that make young people more or less resilient to traumatic experiences, and steps for providing care tailored to individual needs. Family and youth workers will also learn how they may be impacted hearing about the traumatic experiences of others.
  • Working with Trauma Impacted Families A Conceptual Framework for Clinical Practice (PDF) Visit disclaimer page is a Powerpoint presentation facilitated by the Family-Informed Trauma Treatment Center and The National Child Traumatic Stress Network to: increase awareness of the contextual conditions or accumulated traumatic circumstances that influence families, be familiar with adaptations that families make related to exposure to chronic stress and multiple traumas, determine the clinical implications of these complex traumas, and introduce adaptations for working with families.
  • Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach for Youth Across Service Sectors (PPTX) Visit disclaimer page was a training delivered so that participants could integrate a trauma-informed approach throughout health, behavioral health and related systems in order to reduce the harmful effects of trauma and violence on individuals, families and communities, and to utilize innovative strategies to reduce the involvement of individuals with trauma and behavioral health issues in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The training was facilitated by SAMSHA, Center for Child Trauma Assessment and Service Planning, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
  • Using a Trauma-informed Approach to Create Safer Spaces for Young People (PDF) Visit disclaimer page was developed by Cardera and funded through the Office of Adolescent Health.
  • The National Center on Family Homelessness has produced a Trauma-Informed Organizational Toolkit. Visit disclaimer page The toolkit includes an Agency Self-Assessment for Readiness for Trauma-Informed Approaches which may provide a good starting place to gauge an agency’s existing strengths for trauma-informed work, as well as identify additional training or plans agencies may need to get started.

How can I/my staff recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in the clients we work with?

My staff often burn out from dealing with clients’ trauma constantly.  How can I support them?

  • This factsheet Visit disclaimer page from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network discusses secondary trauma in the child welfare workforce.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NTSCN (PDF) Visit disclaimer page ) produced this guide for addressing secondary trauma experienced by staff who work with children and families who may have experienced multiple traumas over the course of years and generations. The guide (PDF) Visit disclaimer page specifically addresses secondary trauma experienced by child welfare staff, but is applicable to a range of human services practitioners, including early care and education providers and staff. This document provides links to a self-assessment tool that will help staff determine whether or not they are experiencing secondary traumatic stress. Professional development efforts that build resilience in staff are also highlighted.
  • This resource page Visit disclaimer page from the Child Welfare information Gateway addresses secondary trauma in the child welfare workforce.
  • This 2012 issue of CW360 (PDF) Visit disclaimer page , a practice journal published by the University of Minnesota, focuses on a range of issues associated with secondary trauma in the child welfare workforce. It contains both overview articles and profiles of good practice.
  • This annotated bibliography Visit disclaimer page describes the academic literature on secondary trauma in the child welfare workforce published between 2000 and 2010.

Where can I learn more about evidence-based and promising interventions to address the effects of trauma?

Additional or specialized resources

  • The Children’s Bureau in 2012 issued an information memorandum (PDF) to state child welfare directors on the importance of and ways to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth receiving child welfare services. Addressing trauma is an important focus of these efforts.

Return to Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services