Trauma-Informed System

In this section…

A trauma-informed child welfare system is one in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the varying impact of traumatic stress on children, caregivers and those who have contact with the system. Programs and organizations within the system infuse this knowledge, awareness and skills into their organizational cultures, policies and practices. They act in collaboration, using the best available science to facilitate and support resiliency and recovery.

DHS has made the commitment to become a trauma-informed child welfare system. Each child deserves a family that understands the impact of the trauma experienced by most children entering out-of-home care, helps
the child heal from this trauma, and keeps the child even in tough times so the child does not have to change placements. A five-year Oklahoma Trauma-Informed System Implementation plan has been developed based on the recommendations from the Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project’s Trauma-Informed Community Assessment of Oklahoma’s Child Welfare System and the ongoing work of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Breakthrough Series Collaborative to Utilize Trauma-Informed Practices to Improve Foster Care Placement Stability- Tulsa site.
The Trauma-Informed Systems plan will enable DHS to add clinical treatment and “trauma-informed” service approaches/interventions designed to reduce the impact of exposure to maltreatment, exposure to violence, and/or trauma on children and adolescents to include:

  1. Psycho-educational programs on the impact of child maltreatment, exposure to violence, and trauma
  2. Outreach/screening of children/adolescents for trauma/violence exposure
  3. Referral/triaging of identified trauma-exposed children to the appropriate intensity of behavioral and clinical services
  4. Acute interventions and supportive services during or in the immediate aftermath of exposure to child maltreatment, violence and/or traumatic events
  5. Training providers to improve their responses
  6. Reducing the potential for traumatic stress in service delivery
  7. Service systems changes to improve the delivery of treatment

The Pinnacle Plan establishes a comprehensive and systematic transformation of DHS’s Child Welfare system to a trauma-informed system. It is important to recognize that exposure to trauma is the rule, not the exception, among children in the child welfare system. Resource families have some of the most challenging roles in the child welfare system. Resource families must be nurtured and supported so they, in turn, can foster safety and well-being. Relatives serving as resource families may themselves be dealing with trauma related to the crisis that precipitated child welfare involvement and placement. DHS will enhance practice with trauma-informed initiatives, additional screening tools, and a Systems of Care focus. This effort will enhance all aspects of the child welfare system so that it is trauma-informed and will provide screenings, assessments and supportive services to help children achieve permanency.

Continue to What is Trauma?