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 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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Outside the Hospital Walls, Who Provides Trauma Informed Care?

Much of the discussion about trauma informed care and how to implement it with pediatric patients revolves around care in the hospital or primary care office. While it's true that physicians and nurses in hospitals and primary care see many patients each day and...

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Are You Seeing Pink?

Screening patients provides a baseline. A frame of reference to help guide and tailor care. One looming question remains: When do you screen a patient? At birth? At a specific age? While obvious, the optimal time for screening will vary in accordance to the particular disease of interest.  When is the appropriate time to screen for mental health concerns?

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More than Screening: How the Small Aspects of Medical Care Make a Big Impact

Trauma informed care goes beyond screening patients and caregivers for traumatic stress or adverse childhood experiences. It goes beyond providing a referral for mental health services. While such actions do help children and families, trauma informed care should be thought of as a framework or lens to guide all your patient interactions. 

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