Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Interventions

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Interventions (CCTASI) at Northwestern University is established to provide national expertise on interventions for the developmental effects of trauma for a variety of service providers across child-serving settings, including child welfare, behavioral health, educational and juvenile justice settings. We will use a culturally sensitive lens to assess and address gaps in trauma-informed practices that exist in foster care, residential care, early education, juvenile probation and diversion, and programs for transition age youth. This will be done by enhancing screening and assessment practices; offering training and consultation for front line/non-clinical staff; adapting and widely disseminating NCTSN interventions and developing trauma-informed resources for service providers, all in order to build an infrastructure for trauma-informed care across child serving systems. Extending the work of our existing NCTSN Center, we will continue to specialize in trauma screening and assessment with an enhanced focus on the meaningful use of these tools in practice. The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths-Trauma Comprehensive (CANS-Trauma), an assessment strategy developed by our existing Center and various national partners, will be further adapted, implemented and integrated into systems-level practice. For example, we will develop an early childhood CANS-Trauma version, in partnership with early childhood experts from the NCTSN and service systems. We will also broaden our focus to include a range of assessment tools and offer webinars, develop a training module and a web-based training platform to support the meaningful use of trauma-informed assessments in practice. We will also focus on raising public awareness on the developmental effects of trauma, as well as training, widespread dissemination, and implementation of NCTSN interventions, including Think Trauma (TT) and the Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC). Along with our partners, we will continue to adapt and disseminate TT within child welfare residential, with juvenile probation and diversion program staff, and for other providers working with transition age youth (TAY). We plan to disseminate and implement the RPC within foster care and adoption, both locally and nationally, and develop adaptations and offer training for caregivers in early and elementary education. We also plan to develop a by-youth for-youth version of the RPC, in partnership with youth leaders, to provide much needed trauma related resources for TAY. We will use large scale data sets from child welfare and juvenile justice (over 10,000 youth) to guide all of our efforts, including adaptations and resource development. We will work with NCTSN partners and collaborative groups to review and adapt these interventions to maximize their effectiveness for specific cultural groups (e.g., for Spanish-speaking or refugee populations). We will utilize webinars, web-based platforms and learning collaborative approaches to support widespread dissemination and implementation of these interventions across targeted service settings with the goal of reaching approximately 11,241 providers that serve more than 29,115 children per year.
Effective start/end date9/30/169/29/22


  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (5U79SM080018-05)


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