A traumatic event is a frightening, dangerous, or violent event that poses a threat to a child’s life or bodily integrity. Pediatricians are likely to be the first, and often only healthcare professionals who encounter the 68% of American children who have experienced trauma. Trauma-informed care translates science to inform and improve pediatric care and outcomes. Trauma-informed care (TIC) is defined by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as medical care in which all parties involved assess, recognize, and respond to the effects of traumatic stress on children, caregivers, and healthcare providers. This includes attention to secondary traumatic stress, the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another. In the clinical setting TIC includes the prevention, identification and assessment of trauma, response to trauma and recovery from trauma as a focus of all services. TIC can be conceptualized in a public health stratification:

  • Primary prevention of trauma and promotion of resilience
  • Secondary prevention and intervention for those exposed to potentially traumatic experiences, including parents, siblings, guardians, and health care workers.
  • Tertiary care for children who display symptoms related to traumatic experiences.

AAP Recommendations

Trauma-Informed Care in Child Health Systems

Trauma-Informed Care

Preventing Childhood Toxic Stress: Partnering With Families and Communities to Promote Relational Health

Children Exposed to Maltreatment: Assessment and the Role of Psychotropic Medication

Clinical Considerations Related to the Behavioral Manifestations of Child Maltreatment

Resources

The resources below provide information and guidance on how pediatricians and health care providers can make their practices trauma-informed.

Moving Beyond ACE Scores Infographic

This infographic explains why collecting an ACE score is not effective clinically and how to provide trauma-informed care instead.

Get Involved

These groups and programs are involved in Trauma Informed Care.

Screening Technical Assistance & Resource Center (STAR Center)
A core component of the Screening in Practices Initiative, the STAR Center seeks to improve the health, wellness, and development of children through practice and system-based interventions to increase rates of early childhood screening, counseling, referral, and follow-up for developmental milestones, maternal depression, and social determinants of health.
Early Brain and Child Development (EBCD)
The Early Brain and Child Development (EBCD) work group developed numerous materials, including several teaching modules, to educate pediatricians and others on the importance of protecting and promoting healthy brain development in early childhood for a child’s lifelong health.

Podcasts and Voices Blogs

Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.

Trauma Informed Care - Episode 82

In this episode AAP President-elect Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP, who co-wrote the policy statement and clinical report on trauma-informed care, explains why health systems need to teach workers at every level the best ways to communicate with families.

Pediatrics on Call

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September 28, 2021

Developing Trauma Informed Integrated Care

Using rom-com references, Dr. Heather Forkey shares why mental health professionals provide the best care for children recovering from physical, psychological and emotional trauma.

Voices Blog

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May 4, 2018