Resources Specific to Working with Low-Income Families Including Those Receiving TANF

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

  • Real Tools: Responding to Multi-Abuse Trauma was funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. This resource provides information on reducing barriers for survivors of multi-abuse trauma. Examples of this type of trauma would include; unresolved childhood trauma; substance misuse and substance use disorders, including addiction; psychiatric problems; disabilities; untreated or chronic medical conditions; social oppression; intergenerational grief or historical trauma; poverty; homelessness; exploitation by the sex industry; and incarceration.

My agency has decided it wants to be more trauma informed. Where do I start?

  • Working with Trauma Impacted Families A Conceptual Framework for Clinical Practice 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, and adaptations for working with families. .
  • The resource, Trauma-informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives, was developed with support from SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care. This report outlines federal agencies’ commitment to implementing gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches. The report also addresses the growing national interest in this issue, the work of the Federal Partners Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies have made.
  • The Crittenton Women’s Union (now known as EMPath) hproduced a practice brief entitled Using Brain Science to Design New Pathways Out of Poverty that describes implications for brain science research, including research on the effects of trauma, for programs that help families achieve self-sufficiency.
  • The presentation Shaping a Two-generational Approach for Reducing Poverty: Identifying and Addressing the Missing Pieces, originally presented in 2014 at the annual meeting of the National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics, describes the prevalence of ACEs among participants in the Family Employment Project study and their relationship to employment barriers and client outcomes.

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

  • 20 Years of TANF: Opportunities to Better Support Families Facing Multiple Barriers. This compendium of policy briefs takes a close look at the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and recommends ways that states can optimize the program to serve the families facing the greatest barriers to success and shape the program to advance equity. Specifically, the report looks closely at TANF’s challenges and opportunities for serving families living in deep poverty, families involved with child welfare systems and families with young children, all of whom are the very families often experiencing exceptional barriers to economic stability.

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

  • The National Center on Family Homelessness has produced a Trauma Informed Organizational Toolkit. The toolkit includes an Agency Self-Assessment for Readiness for Trauma-Informed Approaches which may provide a good starting place to gauge your agency’s existing strengths for trauma-informed work, as well as identify additional training or plans you may need to get started.
  • Trauma Informed Care: Perspectives and Resources is The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at Georgetown University and JBS International created this web-based tool. This tool comprised of issue briefs, video interviews, and resource lists tells a story of implementation of trauma informed services and offers guidance and resources to help you on your implementation journey.
  • The National Crittenton Foundation has developed a toolkit for agencies that want to screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in their client populations.

Additional or specialized resources

  • The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) is an initiative of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A strategic part of OPRE's mission to provide synthesis and dissemination of research and demonstration findings, the SSRC provides researchers, policymakers, and practitioners access to high-quality research focusing on self-sufficiency, employment, and family and child well-being.
  • OFA Peer TA, funded by the Office of Family Assistance within ACF, facilitates the sharing of information across state and local agencies implementing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The goal of Peer TA is to establish linkages among TANF agencies and their partners serving TANF and low-income families at the state, county, local, and tribal level. The Peer TA website acts as a dissemination and communications vehicle, supporting the Peer TA Network in the provision of technical assistance, facilitating a dialogue among organizations serving TANF and low-income families, and helping organizations learn about innovative programs and the latest research around effective strategies to successfully support TANF and low-income families on a path to self-sufficiency.
  • Improving Service Delivery for Children Affected by Trauma: An Implementation Study of Children’s Institute, Inc. The Children’s Institute, Inc. (CII), located in Los Angeles, California, combines clinical mental health and other supports to serve children and families affected by trauma.
  • TraumaInformed Care: Part Two was developed for the 2011 National Healthcare for the Homeless Council Regional Training. It provides activities and resources to help build knowledge, skills, and ability for implementing a trauma informed approach.
  • SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint (NCTIC) provides training for policy makers, administrators, staff, leaders, peers, and individuals who have experienced traumatic events, as well as to others in order to implement trauma-informed approaches in a range of service systems, including mental health, substance misuse, criminal justice, victim assistance, peer support, education, primary care, domestic violence, child welfare, and others.

    Return to Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services

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