Developing a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System

Child abuse and neglect can have lasting effects. Some children show fewer lasting effect while others experience intense trauma, which may affect many aspects of their lives and last well into adulthood. Child welfare professionals need to be prepared to provide appropriate support to all children and families who experience trauma as a result of child abuse, neglect, or other acts of violence. This issue brief discusses the steps necessary to create a child welfare system that is more sensitive and responsive to trauma. Each State or county child welfare system needs to conduct its own systematic process of assessment and planning, in collaboration with key partners, to determine the best approach. After providing a brief overview of trauma and its effects, this issue brief discusses some of the primary areas of consideration in that process, including workforce development, screening and assessment, data systems, evidence-based and evidence-informed treatments, and funding.