Trauma Informed Care

The publication of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III), in 1980 marked the introduction of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a diagnosis, inspired by symptoms presented by veterans of the Vietnam War. The greater understanding of trauma and its effects on war veterans has extended to informing our comprehension of trauma in the civilian world and with children and families who have experienced abuse, neglect, and other traumatic events. This elevated insight has led to the development of evidence-based models of trauma treatment along with changes in organizational policies and practices designed to facilitate resilience and recovery.

The Approach
A well informed approach to treating people who have been exposed to trauma includes:

  • The recognizition of the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths to recovery
  • Recognizes the signs and symptonnnns of trauma in clinets, families, stanff and others involved with the system
  • Seeks to actively avoid re-traumatization
  • A trauma-informed approach can be implemented in any type of service setting or organization and is distinct from trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are designed specifically to address the consequences of trauma and to facilitate healing.

    ACES Questions
    The Adverse Childhoood Experiences Study (ACES) has been developed since the mid 1980s to determine the effect of traumatic events on children and how it can effect them for the remainder of their lives - inlcuding leading to destructive behaviors such as aclohol and substance abuse, violent incidents, and anti-social behavior..

    Score Trauma

    1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?


    6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?


    2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?


    7. Was your mother or stepmother:
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?


    3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?


    8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?


    4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?


    9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?


    5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?


    10. Did a household member go to prison?


    Trauma Score

    Your trauma score is 0.

    An ACES score of 3 or more is considered high.

    The problems and consequences of an ACES score of 3 or greater are explained in this Centers for Disease Control website.

    Social Services Technology Solutions has been performing prevenetative and predictive work related to ACES scores and outcomes. Please contact us to talk about our workand how we can help your agency.


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