The Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) Program, which is a collaborative partnership grant effort between The Kempe Center and the Denver Department of Human Services, provides support for trauma-informed child welfare systems and clinical training in Evidence-Based treatments for children ages 0-18 with open cases through the Denver Department of Human Services. The grant is one of five trauma grants awarded by the Administration for Children and Families in 2011, with our grant being the only county-based program awarded. The goals of the program are to provide:
Universal trauma focused rapid assessment for child welfare involved children, which will include training, supervision and consultation to child welfare staff in comprehensive assessment of trauma exposure and related symptomatology in children involved with child welfare services.
Trauma-informed training for professionals and family members working with and caring for child welfare involved children. Families caring for child welfare involved children, community members, and professionals will also be educated on how best to respond to the needs of children. We will provide training in child trauma signs, symptoms, and therapeutic responses to child trauma.
Training and consultation in trauma-focused mental health services for providers. We will provide Evidence Based Treatment training, supervision and consultation to core service and ABC/Medicaid providers for DHS involved families.
Below is a brief summary of how we plan to evaluate each of the grant’s primary objectives:
Conduct a universal trauma-focused assessment of child-welfare involved children
Denver Department of Human Services’ (DDHS) caseworkers will complete a trauma-focused screening assessment for all youth birth to 18 years of age with open cases. This checklist will allow for the identification of youth who have been exposed to a relatively high number of potentially traumatic events and who are exhibiting trauma-related symptomatology. Once these youth are identified, they will be randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group condition. Youth in the treatment group will receive mental health services from DDHS providers we have trained in project-selected, evidence-based treatments (EBTs), while youth in the control group will receive treatment-as usual.
To determine the impact of the project-selected EBTs on children’s mental health and behavioral functioning, we will collect data at three assessment timepoints (baseline, immediately after mental health services are completed, and then at a 6 month follow-up). These assessments will involve in-home interviews of caregivers and youth (when youth are old enough). We will also collect administrative data from state child-welfare databases to assess children’s safety, permanency, and well-being.
Infuse trauma-informed practice for professionals and family members working with and caring for child-welfare involved young children.
We will use a pretest-posttest research design to evaluate the effectiveness of trainings provided to professionals and families. Prior to implementation of training, we will collect baseline data on trainees’ trauma-informed knowledge, skills, values, and practices, as well as demographic characteristics. After training has been completed, we will re-evaluate trainees to determine whether the training has positively impacted the aforementioned outcomes. We will examine trainee characteristics as factors that may determine for whom training is most/least effective.
Implementation of trauma-focused mental health services for providers
During the summer of 2012 we conducted an online survey of mental health providers contracted by DDHS to determine eligibility and interest in receiving project-selected EBTs. Once providers are selected based on the data they provide, we will begin training on these EBTs. We will evaluate EBT training with a pretest-posttest design similar to the one described above. In addition to evaluating EBT training, we will also evaluate providers’ adherence to the clinical models they are being trained in. We will use monthly fidelity reports completed by providers to determine how closely they are following these models.
Christina Little, PhD-Principal Investigator
Des Runyan, MD DrPH-Co-Principal Investigator
Evelin Gomez, PhD-Clinical and Training Director
Cassandra Hunt, BA-Research Assistant