Credit hours:

Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Many foster children have experienced multiple traumatic events in their childhood. It’s imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how trauma impacts the children they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes
  • how response to stress can impact child and adolescent development
  • features of trauma-informed services
  • the perspective of young people who have experienced trauma
  • ways that foster parents can provide trauma-informed support to children and youth

Step 1

Learn how childhood trauma unfolds across a lifetime from Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris in the video, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime:

Step 2

Learn what trauma is, how young people respond to trauma, and how trauma-informed services benefit young people in foster care by reading the article, "Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care".

Step 3

Review the JBS International article, "Youth and Family Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Care" and learn how identifying trauma may help to overcome it.

Step 4

Review the Fostering Perspectives article, "Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know", to obtain valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn what the impact of untreated trauma has on a young person, understand your child’s behavior in reaction to trauma, and practical tips to help your child overcome trauma in the article "Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma".

Step 6

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? You are encouraged to use a real-life example, if you have one (but please don't use any names in your story).

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Course Discussion

Brebre2063's picture

Brebre2063 said:

My child picks his fingers, rocks, self harms himself. How do help your child with that ? Could the picking be a strategy to calm himself down?
Brebre2063's picture

Brebre2063 said:

How do you help your child overcome childhood trauma?
Courtneymiller304's picture

Courtneymiller304 said:

you want to ensure that the discipline matches the “wrong doing” and makes sense for a child. You want them to know that there is a problem with their behavior/actions, not with them as a person. It is also important to stay calm and be empathetic when the child is explaining what happened.
rlcmurphy's picture

rlcmurphy said:

Always be calm and loving. Haven't experienced this yet we have an infant.
AJDAUCK's picture


Consider the information you have been given about the trauma they have endured and adjust discipline accordingly. Also having clear and consistent rules helps children to know boundaries to decrease the need for discipline.
vw329's picture

vw329 said:

I think consistency and open communication will potentially avoid the need to "discipline". It is more of a conversation and modeling positive behaviors than punishing negative ones.
beks1375's picture

beks1375 said:

If a certain form of discipline is traumatizing, I would reevaluate my methods of discipline and find something different that is effective. I would allow them to feel their feelings in a way that is not harmful to themselves or anyone around them.
Katchick's picture

Katchick said:

0foster youth have a lot of trauma. there is no normal. I've had children come in on so many meds that they are high as heck. But once i get them into therapy, groups with peer's routine stability. they seem to lose the behaviors. Trauma plays such a huge part in their health
CharlieLang's picture

CharlieLang said:

Take into account the trauma they experienced. Have more patience try to put yourself in their place, and guide more than yell.
celestialstina80's picture

celestialstina80 said:

Talking Things through is very important, but you also need to explain that there are still consequences to the actions when mis-behaving.