Trauma: What child Welfare Attorneys Should Know

Each year, over 45 million children in the United States are affected by violence, crime, abuse, or psychological trauma.1 Trauma exposure can significantly interfere with the way children’s brains assess threat, which in turn can affect how they respond to stress. The negative impact of trauma exposure is particularly relevant for children and families in the child welfare system, as the majority of child welfare-involved clients have experienced multiple traumas, including abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic violence. By understanding the impact of trauma on youth and families, and incorporating trauma-informed skills into legal advocacy, attorneys representing children or parents in child welfare cases can improve outcomes for their clients.

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