Effects of child trauma screening on trauma-informed multidisciplinary evaluation and service planning in the child welfare system

Christian M. Connell, Ann Shun Swanson, Maegan Genovese, Jason M. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) among children involved with the child welfare system (CWS), trauma screening is not yet a common practice. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of embedding a formal trauma screening process in statewide multidisciplinary evaluations for CWS-involved youth. A retrospective record review was conducted with two random samples of cases reflecting both pre- and postimplementation of formal screening procedures (n = 70 preimplementation, n = 100 postimplementation). Findings from the record review indicate statistically significant improvements in the documentation of general, χ2(1, N = 170) = 18.8, p <.001, and specific, χ2(1, N = 170) = 10.7, p =.001, details of children's reactions associated with PTE exposure, as well as increases in providers’ recommendations, χ2(1, N = 170) = 18.1, p <.001, and referrals, χ2(1, N = 170) = 4.5, p =.034, for trauma-focused services. The early identification of trauma-related symptoms may help connect children more promptly to trauma-informed evidence-based interventions, which may avert or mitigate the long-term sequelae of child maltreatment and CWS involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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