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Trauma-Informed Practice: Cutting-Edge Treatment of Child Victims of Abuse and Neglect

In 2012, the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) won a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to make trauma-informed treatment the foundation of serving children and youth in the District’s child welfare system. CFSA selected the Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) model, an evidence-based approach shown to dramatically speed and improve healing of child victims of abuse and neglect without relying on medication, hospitalization, or prolonged counseling.

Using the latest scientific findings about the effects of trauma on brain development and functioning, TST focuses on the child’s emotional needs and also on his/her relationships and surroundings. It looks for triggers in each child’s environment and seeks to minimize them while also teaching the child new ways to feel safe and in control.

CFSA is partnering with national experts including research scientists and experienced practitioners to become the first agency to infuse trauma-informed treatment throughout a public child welfare system. CFSA is chronicling this journey in the blog Trauma Grant Story.

For more information about trauma-informed practice at CFSA, contact Trauma Grant Specialist Coral Boswell at [email protected].