Working with the Child Welfare System

When children involved in the child welfare system need medical care, they are particularly in need of providers knowledgeable in trauma-informed care. Illness- or injury-related posttraumatic stress reactions can impair a child's psychosocial / functional recovery and lead to worse health outcomes. While any ill or injured child may experience pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS), children in foster care, who often have a prior trauma history or lack social support, are at greater risk.

Enhance your skills in trauma-informed care and learn tips for working effectively with the child welfare system as a health care professional.

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PMTS and Working with Child Welfare Systems Nursing Course


Trauma can be both a medical and psychological event in the eyes of children and families experiencing serious illnesses, injuries, or painful procedures. By enhancing patient centered care with trauma informed care, health care providers can reduce the impact of difficult or frightening medical events, and help children and families cope with emotional reactions to illness and injury.

How Doctors and Nurses Make a Difference with Trauma Informed Care

Healthcare providers are experts in treating illness and saving lives. After attending to the basics of physical health (A-B-C: Airway, Breathing, Circulation), you can promote psychosocial recovery by paying attention to the D-E-F (Distress, Emotional Support, Family).

What is Trauma Informed Care?

Trauma-informed care shares many principles with patient centered care. However, trauma informed care incorporates an awareness of the impact of traumatic stress on ill or injured children and families as a part of treating the medical aspects of the trauma.

Last Updated (August 22, 2016)



The Missing Link in Trauma Informed Care?

Many factors come into play when doctor and nurses practice through a trauma informed lens. There's the fundamental understanding of the traumatic nature of medical care and that patients may arrive with an array of previous traumas. Emphasis is placed on the assessment of the patient and family's distress...

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The Two Sides of Caregiving

The desire to help and care for others ranks high among the characteristics of all doctors and nurses. Caregiving as a profession is satisfying, meaningful and often very rewarding. But when doctors and nurses fail to balance the care they provide to others with the care they provide to themselves...

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More Than the Nice Thing To Do: Does Trauma Informed Care Really Make an Impact on Physical Health?

Providing trauma informed care can often seem like one of those "nice to do" practices, so it's fair to ask if it actually improves physical health outcomes for patients. Rest assured, it does improve health outcomes for patients, but not always in a way many would consider linear.

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The Path of Least Resistance

Insufficient time typifies a common concern of doctors and nurses when implementing trauma informed care. While screening a pediatric patient and family for psychosocial risks requires a few additional minutes, at its essence, practicing trauma informed care asks physicians and nurses to view patient interactions through a trauma informed lens.

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