Traumatic experiences can profoundly affect development and functioning across the lifespan, including how children experience relationships and display mental health symptoms. For these reasons, it is essential that child welfare professionals help children and adoptive parents to understand and address traumatic experiences before, during, and after adoption. For example, child welfare professionals can provide information to prospective adoptive parents and connect children and youth with mental health resources following placement. Efforts to help children and youth address past trauma increases the likelihood of placement stability. Below, find resources for professionals to recognize and help children and youth address past trauma.
Child Trauma Academy
Offers free online courses on several trauma-related topics as well as access to articles, videos, and other materials on working with traumatized children and youth.
Establishing Secure Attachment With Your New Foster or Adopted Tween or Teen
Creating a Family (2020)
Explores how foster or adoptive parents can create secure attachments with children who have experienced trauma. The blog post lists practical tips to help parents put best practices into their routines every day.
Provides nine strategies that adoptive families can implement to navigate the complicated emotions and family dynamics typical during the holiday season. These tips can be applied more broadly to support children and youth who have experienced trauma throughout the year.
Healing Guidebook: Practical Tips and Tools for Working With Children and Youth Who Have Experienced Trauma
Anu Family Services & Alia Innovations (2018)
Presents an effective four-phase framework-protect, grieve, connect, and regulate-for helping youth heal from relational trauma and find permanency.
The Importance of a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Presents several resources specifically designed to support professionals working with families whose children have experienced trauma.
Parenting After Trauma: Understanding Your Child’s Needs: A Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents (PDF - 1,805 KB)
American Academy of Pediatrics, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, & Jockey Being Family (2016)
Provides examples of the ways in which trauma effects child’s physical and social development. This resource also provides practical tips for adoptive and foster parents working with children who have experienced trauma.
Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2020)
Outlines the signs of traumatic stress, its impact on children, treatment options, and how families and caregivers can help.
Relationships: The Roots of Well-Being (PDF - 2,234 KB)
The Future of Adoption
Rudd Adoption Research Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Discusses the importance maintaining meaningful connections and building healthy relationships. The resource also provides ways to build, embrace, and navigate relationship growth and well-being.
Trauma Treatment: System-Level Programs (Child and Adolescent)
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Describes programs reviewed and rated by the Clearinghouse for their effectiveness in treating trauma in children and youth.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Describes various types of trauma that children may experience, including their distinct symptoms. Children in the child welfare system have often experienced multiple types of traumatic experiences. These resources can support child welfare workers in addressing the unique presentation of child trauma symptoms to prepare them for an adoptive placement.
Sesame Street in Communities
Provides activities and resources designed to help child welfare professionals and parents help children address and heal prior traumatic experiences.
Highlights the ways in which trauma affects child development and provides tips to help adoptive parents address those issues.