Trauma-informed care in child/family welfare services
This paper aims to define and clarify what trauma-informed service delivery means in the context of delivering child/family welfare services in Australia. Exposure to traumatic life events such as child abuse, neglect and domestic violence is a driver of service need. Policies and service providers must respond appropriately to people who are dealing with trauma and its effects in order to ensure best outcomes for individuals and families using these services. In addition to evidence-based programs or clinical interventions that are specific to addressing trauma symptoms, such as trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy, there is a need for broader organisational- or service-level systems of care that respond to the needs of clients with a lived experience of trauma that go beyond a clinical response. Some of the challenges identified in implementing and embedding trauma-informed care across services and systems are discussed.
At the time of writing Liz Wall was a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Daryl Higgins was Deputy Director (Research) and Cathryn Hunter was a Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable feedback of Cathy Kezelman, President, Adults Surviving Child Abuse and contribution of Antonia Quadara, Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Cover image: © istock/ KatarzynaBialasiewicz