Two resources below provide information and guidance on supporting children who have experienced trauma.  The Trauma Toolbox for Primary Care is a guide for primary care pediatricians to identify, address and respond to trauma in children. Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope with Trauma: A Guide for Pediatricians is specifically focused on supporting adoptive and foster families who may have experienced trauma.

Trauma Toolbox for Primary Care

This 6-part series was designed with the primary care practice in mind – those who may or may not be familiar with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the process of asking families about exposure to ACEs or other traumatic events. This project was funded through a grant (UC4MC21534) from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The AAP would like to acknowledge the following members:

M. Denise Dowd, MD, MPH, FAAP – Editor

Heather Forkey, MD, FAAP
RJ Gillespie, MD, MHPE, FAAP
Teri Pettersen, MD, FAAP
Lisa Spector, MD, FAAP
John Stirling, MD, FAAP

Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Lifelong Consequences of Trauma  Spanish​
This document explains ACEs and how they contribute to adult physical and mental health outcomes.

  • What Is the Role of Stress?
  • The Biology of Trauma
  • Effect of Trauma on Parenting Ability
  • Resilience and Other Reasons for Optimism

Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences and Other Types of Trauma in the Primary Care Setting  Spanish​
This document provides initial suggestions for pediatricians to consider when addressing ACEs in their practices.

  • The Medical Home: Ideal for Addressing Trauma
  • The Process
  • Assessing Readiness to Change
  • Identifying ACEs and Other Sources of Trauma Is Quality Improvement
  • Preparing Physicians and Staff for the Process

The Medical Home Approach to Identifying and Responding to Exposure to Trauma  Spanish​
The following information will provide an introduction to specific things pediatricians can do to recognize evidence that a traumatic event has occurred and how to respond.

  • Somatic Complaints and Physical Examinations: Recognizing When Something Is Trauma Related
  • After Exposure to Trauma Is Identified: The Initial Response
  • After Exposure to Trauma Is Identified: Responding to the Symptomatic Child

Bring Out the Best in Your Children  Spanish
Pediatricians can provide this handout to parents to help when their children’s behavior can be challenging.

  • Key Concepts
  • Modeling Behavior
  • The Attention Meter
  • What About Time-Out?
  • Motivating Your Child

When Things Aren’t Perfect: Caring for Yourself and Your Children  Spanish​
Pediatricians can offer this handout to parents to explain ACEs and the number of different factors that play a role in how children will respond to stress.

  • Stress and the Body
  • Parents Were Kids Once Too!
  • Helping Kids: Strong and Healthy Parents

Protecting Physician Wellness: Working With Children Affected by Traumatic Events  Spanish​​
Pediatricians need to take care of themselves. The stress from working with children who have experienced traumatic events like ACEs can be particularly hard on pediatricians and their teams.   

  • The Practice Environment
  • An Individual Response

Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma: A Guide for Pediatricians

In partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Jockey Being Family, the AAP has developed materials for pediatricians on how to support adoptive and foster families.

Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma: A Guide for Pediatricians    Spanish​
The purpose of this guide is to support adoptive and foster families by strengthening the abilities of pediatricians to:

  • identify traumatized children,
  • educate families about toxic stress and the possible biological, behavioral, and social manifestations of early childhood trauma, and
  • empower families to respond to their child’s behavior in a manner that acknowledges past trauma but promotes the learning of new, more adaptive reactions to stress.

Diagnosis/Coding Tips and Screening Tools

On one side of this handout is a list of diagnoses to consider when evaluating a child exposed to trauma. 

Visit Discharge and Referral Summary for Family

This discharge form is to be completed by the pediatrician and given to the family to guide them in following up on referrals and having the correct information to provide to the receiving/referred professional. It may also be useful to the pediatrician when communicating directly with a mental health professional. This form is not intended to provide a complete history nor is it for the referred professional to complete. The form can be completed electronically, printed, and provided to the family at the end of the visit. You may also save the form to your files.

Parenting After Trauma: Understanding Your Child’s Needs

This guide for families explains how trauma can impact a child and provides tips for making them feel safe in their new home. Pediatricians can reproduce and provide this handout to foster and adoptive parents. Click here to download this handout in Spanish.

Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma Webinar (Download PDF)

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American Academy of Pediatrics