Are You Providing Trauma-Informed Care?

The federal government and many state governments mandate trauma-informed care in their contracts and grants.  But the definition is often sketchy leaving agencies to struggle with implementation.  So how do you know if you’re providing trauma-informed care?

Give credit to the Missouri Trauma Roundtable for developing a framework for trauma-informed care.  The model has a continuum to help agencies identify where they are and where they want to be, beginning with trauma aware and moving to trauma sensitive and then trauma responsive.  Indicators, resources, and training are provided for each step.

You can find the Missouri framework here:

Training is critically important to providing trauma-informed care.  The Missouri model frequently lists as resources the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publications that provide a wealth of information at no cost.  For example, in the SAMHSA Trauma Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services document, there are 7 strategies to build resilience:

  • Help clients reestablish personal and social connections
  • Encourage the client to take action in addressing his own needs and in helping others
  • Encourage stability and predictability in the daily routine
  • Nurture a positive view of personal, social, and cultural resources
  • Help clients gain perspective
  • Help maintain a hopeful outlook
  • Encourage participation in peer-support, 12-step, and other mutual-help programs

To review the complete document visit

Another organization, The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice has published a brief on the relationship between trauma and opioid addiction.  A research study found that 80% of patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction had at least one form of childhood trauma, with almost two-thirds having reported witnessing violence in childhood. Sexual abuse and parental separation (for women) and physical and emotional abuse (for men) appear to be particularly highly correlated with opioid abuse.

The Campaign recommends prevention and treatment as part of a comprehensive plan to address opioid addiction.  Effective prevention interventions listed include home visiting, Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

In terms of treatment, the Campaign recommends Seeking Safety as the most evidence-based model for people with both trauma and addiction and it is also the lowest-cost model.  Seeking Safety provides education and coping skills, can be delivered by both peers and professionals, and can be used with individuals or groups.

To view the full brief on trauma and opioid addiction visit

For information on a trauma assessment instrument, visit the Preserving Families Blog at

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director


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