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The Impact of a Statewide Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Initiative on Children's Permanency and Maltreatment Outcomes

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 81 Dated: 2018 Pages: 149-60
Beth Barto; Jessica Dym Bartlett; Adam Von Ende; Ruth Bodian; Carmen Rosa Norona; Jessica Griffin; Jenifer Goldman Fraser; Kristine Kinniburgh; Joseph Spinazzola; Crystaltina Montagna; Marybeth Todd
Date Published
12 pages

The authors describe their research findings regarding a Massachusetts trauma informed child-welfare initiative that had the goal of improving outcomes for traumatized children.


This article presents findings of a state-wide trauma informed child-welfare initiative with the goal of improving well-being, permanency, and maltreatment outcomes for traumatized children. The Massachusetts Child Trauma Project (MCTP), funded by the Administration of Children and Families, Children’s Bureau was a multi-year project implementing trauma-informed care into child welfare service delivery. The project’s implementation design included training and consultation for mental health providers in three evidence-based treatments and training of the child-welfare workforce in trauma-informed case work practice. The learning was integrated between child-welfare and mental health with Trauma Informed Leadership Teams which included leaders from both systems and the greater community. These teams developed incremental steps toward trauma-informed system improvement. This study evaluated whether MCTP was associated with reductions in child abuse and neglect, improvements in placement stability, and higher rates of permanency during the first year of implementation. Children in the intervention group had fewer total substantiated reports of maltreatment, including less physical abuse and neglect than the comparison group by the end of the intervention year. However, children in the intervention group had more maltreatment reports (substantiated or not) and total out-of-home placements than did their counterparts in the comparison group. Assignment to MCTP, however, was not associated with an increase in kinship care or adoption. Overall, the results are promising in reinforcing the importance of mobilizing communities toward improvements in child-welfare service delivery. Publisher Abstract Provided