Trauma-Informed Child and Family Service Systems

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The effects of trauma on infant and early childhood mental health are under-recognized mainly because most people still believe that children of this age are too young to be impacted by trauma exposure, and, if they do show some concerning behaviors, they will “grow out of it.”

For these reasons, the process of developing trauma-informed approaches, integrating these approaches into child-serving systems, and including them in service and treatment settings has been a slow one. However, burgeoning knowledge about brain development, the immediate and long-term impact of trauma in early life, and toxic stress is rapidly changing both the knowledge base and the field. The resources listed below will help you learn about available materials and programs that promote more comprehensive trauma-informed child and family service systems.

Webinar Series
These behavioral health webinars were developed by Dr. Joy Osofsky to provide more information and support for judges, child welfare, mental health, education and other systems that work with traumatized children. The topics include:

  1. Child Development and the Importance of the Attachment Relationship;
  2. Trauma through the Eyes of a Young Child;
  3. The Importance of Trauma Informed Systems; and
  4. Vicarious Trauma and Ways to Maintain Emotional Health while Working with Trauma

The Adverse Childhood Experiences of Very Young Children and Their Parents Involved in the Infant-Toddler Court Teams 
Our latest policy brief presents a snapshot of data collected from the SBCT and QIC-CT court teams on the adverse childhood experiences of children and parents in eight states served by the court teams. Read our new resource to learn more about ACE scores and the implications for families in court teams. 

Testifying in Court for Child-Parent Psychotherapy Providers: Helping the Court Understand the Parent, Child, and Relationship
Developed by the QIC-CT in 2016, this document provides guidance to therapists and clinicians on testifying in court. With planning and respectful processing, relationships can be maintained and perhaps even enhanced when information sharing with the court is required, and the therapist should keep the parent fully informed about progress and any recommendations that were made to the court.

Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court
NCJFCJ collaborated with affiliates from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and select courts to develop a trauma consultation protocol for juvenile and family court settings. The information presented in this document aims to help judges and courts decide whether a trauma consultation is appropriate for their jurisdiction and to outline what courts can expect before, during, and after a consultation. 

Ten Things Every Juvenile Court Judge Should Know About Trauma and Delinquency
To be most effective in achieving its mission, the juvenile court must both understand the role of traumatic exposure in the lives of children and engage resources and interventions that address child traumatic stress. Accordingly, the purpose of this technical assistance bulletin from NCJFCJ, NCTSN, and OJJDP is to highlight ten crucial areas that judges need to be familiar with in order to best assist traumatized youth who enter the juvenile justice system.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Bench Card for the Trauma-Informed Judge
These two Bench Cards provide judges with useful questions and guidelines to help them make decisions based on the emerging scientific findings in the traumatic stress field.

Questions Every Judge and Lawyer Should Ask About Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System
Increasing numbers of infants and young children with complicated and serious physical, mental health, and developmental problems are being placed in foster care. This Technical Assistance Brief, published by NCJFCJ, contains checklists that have been developed for use by judges, attorneys, child advocates, and other child welfare professionals in meeting the wide range of health care needs of this growing population.

Additional ITCP Resources

View additional information on improving safety, permanency, and well-being for very young children in foster care, or at risk of removal, and their families.

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