Secondary trauma, also called secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma, can occur when a professional experiences stress or symptoms of trauma when working with children and families who are experiencing abuse, neglect, or family violence. The following resources outline strategies to decrease risk, address the challenges professionals face in these situations, and offer ways to cope with secondary trauma.
Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Child Welfare Staff: A Practice Brief (PDF - 146 KB)
ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute (2012)
Addresses occupational stress experienced by staff responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect and making decisions regarding child removal.
Beyond Quick Fixes: What Will it Really Take to Improve Child Welfare in America? Paper Two: Caseworkers Are First Responders. They Deserve the Same Professionalization as Other Essential Personnel (PDF - 323 KB)
Explores the current status of child protection services in the United States and proposes to address its challenges, emphasizing the importance of the child welfare caseworker and makes the case for further professionalization of caseworkers. Recommendations to elevate caseworkers to the status and comparable benefits of other first responders are made.
The Cost of Caring: Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Impact of Working With High-Risk Children and Families
Online training course designed to present an overview of secondary traumatic stress and teach child welfare workers approaches and strategies to decrease risk for developing trauma-related symptoms.
Promoting Resilience and Reducing Secondary Trauma Among Child Welfare Staff: Participant Handbook (PDF - 1,116 KB)
ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute
Presents training materials designed to mitigate the impact of secondary traumatic stress among child protective staff in New York City, and thereby increase staff job satisfaction, resilience, optimism, self-care and social support, and decrease staff attrition, stress reactivity and burnout. A Training Manual is also available.
Secondary Trauma and Child Welfare Staff: Guidance for Supervisors and Administrators (PDF - 785 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) (2016)
Provides information on how secondary traumatic stress (STS) manifests, child welfare staff who are at risk for STS, and strategies for prevention of and intervention for STS. The tip sheet lists STS assessment tools and offers recommendations for professional development efforts that focus on building skills associated with resilience.
Secondary Traumatic Stress A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals (PDF - 788 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2011)
Describes secondary traumatic stress and provides information on assessment, prevention, and relevant interventions.
Secondary Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare Practice: Trauma-Informed Guidelines for Organizations (PDF - 1,782 KB)
Chadwick Center for Children and Families (2016)
Provides concrete strategies to assist leadership in child welfare organizations with approaching secondary traumatic stress.
Using the Secondary Traumatic Stress Core Competencies in Trauma-Informed Supervision (PDF - 2,324 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2018)
Outlines the core competencies for supervisors providing support to workers at risk for secondary traumatic stress. It can be used by both individual supervisors to assess knowledge and help identify resources based on the results and by organizations to guide their supervisors in a self-evaluation of the competencies. It can also be used to identify needed resources and develop training based on the information provided within the tool.