Comprehensive family assessment is the ongoing practice of informing decision-making by identifying, considering, and weighing factors that impact children, youth, and their families. Comprehensive family assessment involves specifically screening for and assessing the needs and strengths of children and youth, which includes screening and assessing for child trauma.
Children have a variety of strengths, coping strategies, and protective factors that promote positive adjustment to traumatic experiences and complex trauma. In addition to screening and assessing for trauma symptoms, child welfare workers should work to identify these strengths that can support the child and family. On this page, find resources and tools for professionals on screening and assessing trauma in children and youth.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016)
Provides information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–Kaiser ACE study, major findings and implications from the study, and the tool for measuring adverse childhood experiences. The webpage includes journal articles, case studies, and additional resources.
Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Interventions
Describes the trauma assessment addendum of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths measure, which is used to assess child trauma in child welfare settings. The webpage also explains how to use the results of the assessment to guide case planning and service delivery.
The Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services & Interventions
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (2017)
Provides information and resources on trauma-informed assessment, family engagement, and service provider collaboration.
Child Measures of Trauma and PTSD
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Describes and compares child and adolescent trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder measures. For each measure, a brief description, sample items, versions, and references are provided.
Learning About Screening
Provides age-specific resources to assess childhood exposure to adverse experiences from the perspective of multiple reporters.
Review of Trauma Screening Tools for Children and Adolescents (PDF - 1,334 KB)
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Describes 11 screening tools designed to provide information about trauma in children and adolescents.
Trauma-Informed Screening and Assessment
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Provides information on trauma screening, trauma-informed mental health assessments, engaging families in the assessment process, and considerations for implementation. The website includes a free with login webinar on An Overview of Screening and Assessment for Child Trauma.
Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute
Provides training, consultation, information, and resources for those who work with trauma-exposed children, adolescents, and adults. Website includes a section on assessment.