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Trauma-informed residential treatment: who is using it?

1 January 2015


A review of the literature revealed that children with trauma histories are not consistently provided with interventions specifically addressing trauma symptoms and that there is a need for research on effective interventions to address trauma. Rates of previous trauma exposure among youth in residential treatment facilities are considerably high. Currently, there is a paucity of research about residential treatment outcomes and success in residential treatment is measured through variables that have little focus on the components of treatment that lead to gains. A trauma informed philosophy of care is one in which the organizational culture is sensitive to the effects of trauma. Existing research suggests a trauma-informed philosophy of care in residential treatment would be beneficial. Additionally, outcome research may be better facilitated with a uniform model of care in residential treatment. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the use of trauma-informed care (TIC) in residential treatment for youth in order to add to the existing literature and provide support for the benefits of a uniform model of care in these facilities. At least one survey response from every state was obtained for a total of 67 respondents. Results suggest that a majority of facilities track outcome data as a measure of treatment success and screen universally for a history of trauma. A majority of respondents also endorsed use of a trauma-informed philosophy of care. Perceptions about barriers and benefits of TIC were examined. Descriptions of current models of care were also obtained.


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