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

happyhilldweller's picture

happyhilldweller replied:

Hi - I am a brand new foster mom. My 10 year old foster child was sexually abused. He hasn't talked to me about it but just moved in a little over two weeks ago. His family system is incredibly chaotic and shaming (discovered this at a bday party). Any insight you can give me would be very helpful.
kaylado91's picture

kaylado91 said:

I currently have two children that were removed from their birth home where both children experienced severe sexual abuse. The oldest of the two is 5 years old and remembers the trauma and has been in counseling for over a year and is just now able to address the trauma. With this child, I have to use positive reinforcement and rewards for his behavior. This child does not care when he looses privileges but does react to getting rewards and continues with his good behavior.
Mimi2016's picture

Mimi2016 said:

Make a plan, helping a child with trauma you need to have a plan. A daily week plan, schedule days where you connect with child, make sure to have other adults who should can trust to talk to as well like family and friends.
BillandAmyLittlefield's picture

BillandAmyLittl... said:

Positive reinforcement, not dwelling on mistakes but more on successes. Gain trust and provide a sense of safety for even when they do something "wrong" that they are not viewed as bad. Teach them other ways to cope with their stresses. Allow them to talk openly about their past traumatic experiences. Find services for the child based on trauma from past. Be instrumental and involved in their healing process. Always use positive feedback and find ways to talk about negative behaviors in a positive way so as not to add more trauma. Be proactive with their teachers to help them identify needs in the classroom and positive peer friendships and experiences.
BillandAmyLittlefield's picture

BillandAmyLittl... said:

Child experienced severe trauma, recognized by family members as this person was an elderly adult. Person capable of explaining their experiences but refusing to ever receive treatment for issues. Diagnosed with every known disease/illness imaginable from diabetes to heart disease, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, depression, anxiety, and eventually Alzheimer's. Said person never treated for traumas from childhood. Then, their own children exposed to equal amounts of trauma, but children received treatment at an early age. The outcomes were tremendously different.
Yvonne123's picture

Yvonne123 said:

observation of the child reveals that he is set off for reasons that are hard to identify. With peers he has destructive behavior (physical and material). He calls people names, hits them, destroys property and becomes non-communicable. Does not take responsibility or accountability for actions. Show little remorse. Child is age 6.