Developing an Actuarial Index for Child Exposure to Trauma

Recent research suggests that half of all children in the United States have experienced some type of traumatic event that threatens their safety or well-being. Children involved with the child welfare system are particularly vulnerable to trauma. Over the last decade, child welfare agency managers and stakeholders have been pursuing ways to ensure that practice is trauma-informed, i.e., based on research about how trauma affects human beings, and that all children served by the child welfare system are screened and assessed for trauma symptoms. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has supplemented these efforts with analyses of data systematically recorded by social workers to determine whether the likelihood of experiencing trauma symptoms can be estimated. A brief summary of this research can be found here.