Vol. 18, No. 1 • November 2013

Foster and Adoptive Parents and the Focus on Child Trauma

Today there’s a real sense of urgency about trauma in the field of child welfare. There is a strong feeling that we must do a better job identifying children who have had traumatic experiences and making sure they get the support they need.

Fueling this urgency is mounting evidence that if it is left untreated, trauma can have a profound, negative impact on children’s behavior, learning, health, and well-being not just in the short term, but for the rest of their lives. Findings from the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, some of which are summarized below, illustrate how serious the consequences of trauma can be.

This issue of Fostering Perspectives is part of a nationwide effort to ensure foster, adoptive, and kinship parents know what they can do to help children heal and flourish after trauma. In these pages we:

  • Explore what it means to be a “trauma-informed” parent
  • Share strategies, suggestions, and tips for parents
  • Tell you how you can learn more about this topic, which is so directly connected to the safety, permanence, and well-being of children.

We hope this issue is helpful to you and to the children we all care so much about.

The ACE Study Helps Reveal Trauma’s Impact

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study looked at broad types of negative childhood experience: abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction.

Over 17,000 people who had health insurance completed a survey about their childhood experiences and current habits and behaviors. Researchers compared the number of ACEs (between 0 and 10) each person reported to their medical health record.

The study revealed strong links between adverse childhood experiences and risky behavior, psychological problems, serious illness, and life expectancy. In fact, on average people with six or more adverse childhood experiences died nearly 20 years earlier than those with no ACEs.

Trauma also has a big financial impact: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates lifetime costs associated with child maltreatment at $124 billion.

Learn more about the ACE study through a wonderful CDC infographic: http://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/childmaltreatment/phl/resource_center_infographic.html


Download or print a pdf of this entire issue

Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know
How to Ensure Your Child Receives Effective Mental Health Treatment
Caring for a Child Who Takes Psychotropic Medication
Youth in Care Speak Out
Pros and Cons of Psychotropic Medication

Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma

Taking Care of Yourself: Part of Trauma-Informed Parenting

Foster Care Alumna and SaySo Member Shares Her Story
"Because I SaySo" by La'Sharron Davidson

Message from the NC Foster and Adoptive Parent Association

Responding to Trauma Triggers

Working with Birth Parents Who Have Trauma Histories

NC Child Treatment Program

Videos Explore Shared Parenting, Trauma and Behavior

By the Numbers: Foster Homes in North Carolina
Child and Family Team Meetings Support Trauma-Informed
Work with Foster and Adoptive Parents
Supporting Children During CFTs
NC Passes New Laws Affecting Foster Parents
A Reader Asks
Am I right to hesitate to ask for respite, even though I really need it?
Project Broadcast: Bringing Trauma-Informed Practice to NC's Child Welfare System
NC Launches Online Orientation for Prospective Foster Parents
Help Us Find Families for These Children
Writing Contest

References cited in this issue

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~ Family and Children's Resource Program, UNC-CH School of Social Work ~