Trauma-Informed Care in Child Welfare Practice

New research is demonstrating the effectiveness of trauma treatment models for families involved in the child welfare system.

Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) is an especially promising model for use in the child welfare system. It is a research-based, therapeutic model designed to improve functioning of children exposed to trauma. Child Trends conducted a research study in Kansas and found that children whose care teams had been trained in TST demonstrated significant improvements in well-being (behavioral and emotional regulation, functioning) and placement stability.

Child Trends also evaluated Trauma Systems Therapy for Foster Care. Resource parents receiving the training were more likely to keep their homes open to foster children, and children were less likely to experience a placement disruption.

Another model, ARC Reflections, teaches resource parents skills to enhance child well-being, stability, and permanency. It is based on Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency. Five North Carolina child welfare agencies tested the model. Resource parents showed significant increase in knowledge and skills about trauma-informed parenting and tolerance towards children’s misbehavior along with praise for positive behavior.

A summary of the Child Trends Evaluation of trauma-informed care for the child welfare system is available here:

Information on Trauma Systems Therapy is available here:

The Trauma Systems Therapy manual is excellent training for both therapists and non-therapists as it is hands-on and interactive. Purchasing information is available here:

NFPN has an assessment tool for Trauma/Post-Trauma Well-Being with details here:

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director

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