How do children of different ages experience trauma?

It is important for everyone in the child welfare system — including frontline caseworkers, foster parents, supervisors, and court personnel — to understand that not all trauma looks the same. Children of different ages and stages of development may show very different signs of trauma, and they may have very different needs as a result.

The child welfare field is learning more about how children are affected by trauma, including the effects of child abuse and neglect, and the trauma that may be caused by investigation, removal, and placement — the very interventions created to protect children from harm.

The infographic below highlights Children’s Experience of Traumatic Situations at different stages of their growth and development.1

To learn more about how child protection agencies can increase their levels of trauma sensitivity while carrying out child protective processes, see: How does investigation, removal, and placement cause trauma for children? and How can investigation, removal, and placement processes be more trauma-informed?

Children’s Experience of Traumatic Situations

1 Adapted from http://www.nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/age_related_reactions.pdf and https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cfsr/Reducing%20the%20trauma%20of%20investigation%20removal%20%20initial%20out-of-home%20plcaement%20in%20child%20abuse%20cases.pdf

Related Resources

Connecticut has integrated trauma-informed practices throughout its child welfare system by way of an innovative approach called CONCEPT.

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This brief describes strategies for creating a trauma-informed agency across all levels, related tools, and promising results in states.

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Youth in foster care have high rates of trauma exposure. A trauma-informed child protection system can mitigate trauma’s adverse effects.

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This strategy brief describes ways to integrate trauma-informed practice into all decision points in the child protection process.

LEARN MORE

Investigation, removal, and placement decisions and actions must consider the traumatic effects of those processes on the child.

LEARN MORE

Connecticut has integrated trauma-informed practices throughout its child welfare system by way of an innovative approach called CONCEPT.

READ STORY

This brief describes strategies for creating a trauma-informed agency across all levels, related tools, and promising results in states.

READ STORY

Youth in foster care have high rates of trauma exposure. A trauma-informed child protection system can mitigate trauma’s adverse effects.

READ STORY

This strategy brief describes ways to integrate trauma-informed practice into all decision points in the child protection process.

READ STORY

Investigation, removal, and placement decisions and actions must consider the traumatic effects of those processes on the child.

READ STORY

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