Child welfare and related professionals may work with families whose caregivers struggle with symptoms associated with a mental health diagnosis. When professionals and others are aware of mental health concerns—or have the tools and information to refer caregivers for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment—they may be better equipped to improve family and child social and emotional well-being. Additionally, parents and caregivers may also have traumatic histories that can affect their ability to parent effectively. This section provides resources about better understanding the consequences that trauma histories can have on parenting, community-based interventions for parents experiencing depression or other disorders, and resources for parents and caregivers of children who have experienced trauma.
Birth Parents With Trauma Histories and the Child Welfare System: A Guide for Child Welfare Staff (PDF - 245 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2011)
Highlights the importance of understanding the serious consequences that trauma histories can have for birth parents and the subsequent potential impact on their parenting. This factsheet for child welfare professionals is part of a series that includes factsheets about this topic for a variety of audiences, including guides for parents (PDF - 423 KB), judges and attorneys (PDF - 236 KB), mental health professionals (PDF - 329 KB), resource parents (PDF - 308 KB), and court-based child advocates and guardians ad litem (PDF - 296 KB).
Community-Based Interventions for Depression in Parents and Other Caregivers on a Northern Plains Native American Reservation
Sparrow, Armstrong, Bird, Grant, Hilleboe, & Olson-Bird (2011)
In American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Mental Health: Development, Context, Prevention, and Treatment
Highlights Project Hope (Helping Our People Emphatically), a preventive, community-initiated, and community-wide approach to treating depression in caregivers who care for children and youth and promotes family wellness.
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Identifies and disseminates information on evidence-based child welfare practices, including mental health programs. The clearinghouse provides a searchable database of programs that can be utilized by professionals that serve children and families receiving child welfare services.
Domestic Violence in Women With Serious Mental Illness Involved With Child Protective Services
Lewin, Abdrbo, & Burant (2010)
Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 31(2)
Describes the connection between major depression and exposure to domestic violence in mothers who are involved with child protective services. The findings support increased comprehensive mental health assessment for mothers who have experienced violence, ongoing parental and family supports, and the locating of safe and protective housing.
Enhancing Home Visiting With Mental Health Consultation (PDF - 1,190 KB)
Goodson, Mackrain, Perry, O'Brien, & Gwaltney (2013)
Pediatrics, 132(Supplement 2)
Discusses the early childhood mental health consultation approach to home visiting, which enhances screening of mothers and families that are high risk for depression, substance use, and other mental health concerns. This integrated model holds the promise of promoting parent and child behavioral health by enhancing the capacity of home visitors to identify and appropriately address the unmet mental health needs of children and families.
ZERO TO THREE
Provides resources and tools on the importance of investing in home visiting programs and how professionals and policymakers can support the implementation of home visiting programs as part of a comprehensive and coordinated system of services for young children and their families. Resources include a May 2014 special issue of the Zero to Three Journal: Addressing Maternal Depression in Home Visiting Programs: Current Issues and Innovative Approaches.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 496KB)
Versión para imprimir (PDF - 693KB)
Trauma and Parenting: A Practice Brief (PDF - 160 KB)
ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute (2012)
Explains the impact of parental trauma on children and on the parents’ ability to collaborate with service providers. This policy brief provides examples of child welfare-related initiatives that emphasize a trauma perspective, including the Safe Mothers, Safe Children project in New York City that works to reduce the risk of child maltreatment among families receiving child welfare preventive services through identifying and treating mothers with trauma-related disorders.