The Need For Trauma-informed Care Within The Foster System - AP Seminar - Research Paper

1898 words - 8 pages

Harlin 1
Allison Harlin
The Need for Trauma-Informed Care within the Foster System
Child Welfare (CW) agencies are tasked with the mission and purpose to help, protect,
and rehabilitate children who have suffered from maltreatment, and with hundreds of thousands
of children coming into the system experiencing some of the most heinous acts of abuse, they
deserve recognition and attention. The CW agencies being an integral part to the fabric of our
society, and an essential piece of many children's lives, it seems otherworldly to believe that they
do not have adequate trauma-informed care or practices. This raises the question: How can we
better serve children who have suffered trauma entering the child welfare system with
trauma-informed care and practices? Child Welfare agencies should include trauma-informed
practices into the foster care system to help CW agencies to better help their foster children, and
to avoid retraumatization. In order to do this, we would increase funding efforts, to better educate
foster parents and CW workers, and to maybe include a behavioral therapist to help not only the
child but also the whole system.
Childhood trauma is one of the most impactful parts of a person’s life. It transforms their
lives so much that the actual pathways in the brain change and adjust because of this (Bremner).
One of the main consequences of childhood trauma is PTSD which in turn has many
consequences of its own. It also impacts the relationship between the child and the
parent/caregiver “Without the support of a trusted parent/caregiver to help them regulate their
Harlin 2
strong emotions, children may experience overwhelming stress, with little ability to effectively
communicate what they feel or need. They often develop symptoms that parents/caregivers don't
understand and may display uncharacteristic behaviors that adults may not know how to
appropriately respond to” (NCTSN). This shows that childhood trauma impacts the
aforementioned child, parent/caregiver relationship and with the instability of foster care and
reintroduction to new caregivers, the child's ability to trust would be heavily influenced. It has
also been shown that children who have been exposed to trauma in ages 3-6 have experienced a
lack of self-esteem, are unable to trust others and have trouble making friends, act out in social
situations, develop learning abilities and more (NCTSN). This all contributes to how the child
may act in a new foster home and how they respond in general. The behavior of a child who has
experienced trauma and in trying to cope may be misinterpreted as deviant behavior. This all
goes to show why we need to incorporate more trauma-informed care within the foster system to
help children who are suffering, to help cope and digest what happened to them, to prohibit
future challenges that may arise, such as mental health problems.
As the idea of trauma-informed child welfare (TICW) grew as a concept so did the

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