Every child in the child welfare system has experienced trauma, whether it is from abuse and/or neglect by their families, or as a result of separation from their families and community after removal from their homes. Numerous research articles and studies detail the impact of trauma on developing children and youth, which causes both short- and long-term problems, including difficulties with learning, ongoing behavior problems, impaired relationships, and poor social and emotional competence. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that these children often experience additional trauma once in the child protection system itself, which is something CASA volunteers see across Texas every day.
To address this ongoing issue, Texas CASA has taken a leadership role in understanding the availability and impact of trauma-informed and mental health services in the Texas child welfare system. Additionally, Texas CASA has taken steps toward becoming a more trauma-informed organization and believes all adults who work with children in the system must understand the impact of trauma on child development and behavior so that children in care have an opportunity to begin healing and do not experience additional trauma while in the system.
TRAUMA-INFORMED ADVOCACY FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE
Following the trauma-informed care survey and report issued last year (see below), Texas CASA, the Texas Children’s Commission and the Shield Ayers Foundation partnered to create a 1-hour training session to help Attorneys ad Litem, Guardians ad Litem and CASA volunteers advocate for children in a trauma-informed way. The presentation includes strategies for advocating for children in courtrooms, schools and placements to meet each child’s unique needs. There is also discussion about how trauma influences a child’s ability to communicate about the case and how to appropriately respond to trauma-related behaviors.
To watch the training session in the CASA College Learning Management System (LMS), please click the button below. If you do not have a CASA College LMS account, please visit the CASA College E-Learning page to learn how you can get started.
TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE SURVEY & REPORT
With funding from the Children’s Commission, Texas CASA, in partnership with Cenpatico, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Texas Network of Youth Services and others, developed the Workforce Survey on Trauma-Informed Care within the Child Welfare System in Texas.
This first-of-its-kind survey was distributed to child welfare stakeholders across the state to:
- Collect information on the trauma-informed care training and services available in Texas, and
- Gather feedback from the field on what is needed to make the system more trauma-informed.
Based on the survey results, Texas CASA has compiled our findings into a report that includes an analysis of the responses, plus recommendations from both the field and Texas CASA on how to create a more trauma-informed child welfare system. The final report, Understanding Trauma-Informed Care in the Texas Child Welfare System: Data and Recommendations from the Field, provides an analysis of the data gathered as well as Texas CASA’s strategic recommendations to help improve the care, services and advocacy that abused, neglected and traumatized children receive while in the child welfare system.
Our hope is that stakeholders will use the results of this survey when considering policies that aim to give children a better opportunity to heal from trauma and the positive outcomes they deserve.
Read the report below or download your own copy.