In spring 2010, the Chadwick Center for Children and Families and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, established the Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project (CTISP) to provide leadership in identifying effective treatments and developing specialized service delivery models to serve victims of child abuse and children exposed to domestic violence who are involved with the public child welfare system. CTISP will support the evolution of public child welfare agencies into trauma-informed organizations while also supporting the agencies’ efforts to serve as facilitators of change in their communities.
One of the first efforts put forth by CTISP’s National Advisory Committee was to create and formalize the definition of a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System:
A trauma-informed child welfare system is one in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the varying impact of traumatic stress on children, caregivers, families, and those who have contact with the system. Programs and organizations within the system infuse this knowledge, awareness, and skills into their organizational cultures, policies, and practices. They act in collaboration, using the best available science, to facilitate and support resiliency and recovery.
By following the standards set in the definition CTISP will help transform the wider community child welfare system, which includes all the major systems that impact children and families involved with public child welfare, including children’s mental health, into a multi-dimensional, trauma-informed, evidence-based system better able to meet the unique needs of abused and trauma-exposed children. CTISP is funded by a grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
To further the growth of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Services, CTISP staff, with guidance from their National Advisory Committee, has developed new resources and is in the process of widely disseminating new and exciting products and services designed for front-line child welfare workers, supervisors, administrators, and policy makers, along with trauma-specific models and tools needed by children’s mental health and allied professionals. These are a part of the larger Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice Toolkit.
As part of the project, CTISP worked very closely with their three laboratory sites: New Hampshire’s, Oklahoma’s, and San Diego County’s Child Welfare Systems. CTISP will also work closely with numerous entities, including the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Child Welfare Committee, the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS), other Treatment and Services Adaptation (TSA) Centers, cooperating Community Treatment Sites, other related NCTSN committees, and child welfare and trauma mental health organizations across the nation.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Conradi, PsyD
CTISP Project Manager
The goal of CTISP is that trauma-informed child welfare systems will understand how:
Childhood traumatic stress impacts children.
The system can either help mitigate the impact of trauma or inadvertently add new traumatic experiences.
The culture of the child and family influences the child’s response to trauma.
Child and family resiliency after trauma can be enhanced.
Current and past trauma impacts the families with whom child service workers interact.
Adult trauma interferes with adult caregivers’ ability to care and support their children.
Vicarious trauma impacts the child-serving workforce.
Exposure to trauma is part of the child welfare job.
Trauma has shaped the culture of the child welfare system, the same way trauma shapes the world view of child victims.
Trauma-informed systems will integrate a range of evidence-based and trauma-specific treatments and practices supported by the NCTSN.