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 and youth they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • The connection between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and health outcomes

  • How responses to stress can impact child and adolescent development

  • Considerations for facilitating trauma-informed services

  • Perspectives from young people who have experienced trauma

  • How 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 children and youth 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 learn valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn the impact of untreated trauma on children and young people, understand some of the behaviors exhibited in reaction to trauma, and explore practical tips to help children and youth 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 share real-life examples, but please don't use any names in your story.

Step 7

Finished the module?  If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate!

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Course Discussion's picture

[email protected] said:

We learned rather quickly as foster parents that the concept of "discipline" does not mean controlling behaviors (i.e. your actions will lead to consequences) but rather that we were trying to help our children learn how to control / manage their behaviors and emotions and reactions.
daveferg1388's picture

daveferg1388 said:

My most recent placement has been having behavioral issues at visits, to a point where his CW and myself have had to talk with him. While talking did address it, it didn't really help him or us get to the why of the matter. So, I had him write in his notebook about why he has been acting that way - and it was a huge help for myself, his CW and his therapist. Knowing what we know now, it's been able to be turned around so that we can start labelling and understanding the complex emotions that he has from the trauma he experienced. Who knew such a simple thing could make such a big splash!


A parent would most be most effective if they were able to remain very calm and address the situation with a kind heart. Encourage deep breathing techniques and help the child work through his/her emotions. These are the most immediate techniques we employ in a school environment. Most importantly is to not remove the child (unless he/she is in an unsafe situation) for he/she may perceive themselves as being "bad". Instead offer a calming seat or area where both the parent and child can sit and begin to decompress and/or discuss what the child is feeling.
ksmith120's picture

ksmith120 said:

I wouldn’t think of it as punishment but an opportunity for them to improve. For a child that has experienced trauma the most important thing is to get them to calm down and acknowledge their feelings. Then help them identify the choices that were made, the result of those choices and how they want can make a different choice. They could write, draw or use any format of their choice to reflect and express themselves - like a journal.
G.Brown's picture

G.Brown said:

Allowing them to express themselves in an excepable manner
Lisamarie Guidry's picture

Lisamarie Guidry said:

Remain patient and calm with them. Do not take their behavior personally.
Lisahays's picture

Lisahays said:

It is an incredible phenomenon to see how much trauma and adversity can effect us in our health and every way throughout our whole life.
Erichays's picture

Erichays said:

That first video was so thought provoking. It is interesting to see how it can effect the overall health of a person throughout their life.
ShaaleenAP's picture

ShaaleenAP said:

Understanding behavior is important. Being able to demonstrate appropriate behavior is equally important. Its guidance's picture

Leeannmikes@yah... said:

A foster child was upset and panicked when she saw a man talking to her foster dad. This man reminded her of a different abusive person. We didn’t get mad at the child for the outburst. We instead talked to the child informing the child that the man wasn’t the abusive person. It took several months to work with the girl but she stop the outburst. She never did trust the man but she trusted us to keep her safe.