Context: Rates of traumatization among residential child welfare professionals are alarmingly high. The well-being of these professionals is associated both with their intention to stay in their jobs and outcomes of children in their care. Several risk factors threaten the well-being of child welfare professionals, including primary and secondary exposure to experiences with the potential to provoke posttraumatic stress reactions. Objectives: This manuscript details experiences empirically shown to have potential negative impacts on professional well-being, discusses why these impacts are of particular concern for residential childcare workers, and describes the types of organizational cultures and climates that appear to mitigate these negative impacts. Implications: Trauma-informed care at the organizational level is proposed both as a means to reduce harm to child-welfare professionals and promote the rehabilitation of children within the child welfare system.
APA (2013). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-5. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
APA. (2013b). Trauma-and Stressor-Related Disorders Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
Baglivio, M. (2018). On Cumulative Childhood Traumatic Exposure and Violence/ Aggression: The Implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). In A. Vazsonyi, D. Flannery & M. DeLisi (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of violent behavior and aggression (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge university Press.
Beebe, B, & Lachman, F. (2002). Co-constructiong Inner and Relational Processes: Self and Interactive Regulation in infant research and adult treatment Infant Reseach and Adult Treatment (pp. 121-142). Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.
Blaustein, M, & Kinniburgh, K. (2018). Treating traumatic stress in children and adolescents: How to foster resilience through attachment, self-regulation, and competency: Guilford Publications.
Bloom, S, & Farragher, B. (2011). Destroying sanctuary : the crisis in human service delivery systems. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Bloom, S, & Farragher, B. (2013). Restoring sanctuary : a new operating system for trauma-informed systems of care.
Bober, T, & Regehr, C. (2006). Strategies for reducing secondary or vicarious trauma: Do they work? Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 6(1), 1-9.
Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development. London: Routledge.
Boyas, J, Wind, L, & Kang, S. (2012). Exploring the relationship between employment-based social capital, job stress, burnout, and intent to leave among child protection workers: An age-based path analysis model. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 50-62. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.033
Brandt, K, Perry, B, Seligman, S, Tronick, E, & American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Infant and early childhood mental health : core concepts and clinical practice (First edition. ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing, a Division of American Psychiatric Association.
Brend, D. M., Fletcher, K, & Nutton, J. (2013). With Laura: Attachment and the healing potential of substitute caregivers within cross-cultural child welfare practice. . First Peoples Child & Family Review, 7(2).
Brend, D.M., Lanctôt, N, & Geoffrion, S. (2019). Moral Distress Among Residential Care providers in Child Welfare Unpublished manuscipt.
Brewin, C, Andrews, B, & Valentine, J. (2000). Meta-analysis of risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 68(5), 748-766. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.68.5.748
Bride, B. (2007). Prevalence of Secondary Traumatic Stress among Social Workers. Social Work, 52(1), 63-70.
Bride, B, & Jones, J. (2006). Secondary Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare Workers: Exploring the Role of Supervisory Culture. Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, 9(2-3), 38-43.
Briere, J, & Scott, C. (2015). Principles of trauma therapy : a guide to symptoms, evaluation, and treatment (Second edition, DSM-5 update. ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Caringi, James C., & Hardiman, Eric R. (2011). Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Child Welfare Workers in the United States. International Journal of Child & Family Welfare, 14(2), 50-63.
Catalan, Ana, Angosto, Virxina, Díaz, Aida, Valverde, Cristina, de Artaza, Maider Gonzalez, Sesma, Eva, . . . Gonzalez-Torres, M. (2017). Relation between psychotic symptoms, parental care and childhood trauma in severe mental disorders. Psychiatry Research, 251, 78-84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.02.017
Chernesky, R, & Israel, M. (2009). Job Expectations and Intention to Leave in a State Child Welfare Agency. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(1), 23-39. doi: 10.1080/15548730802690817
Child Welfare Research Portal. (2010). Information Sheet #82E. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.
Choi, G. (2011a). Organizational Impacts on the Secondary Traumatic Stress of Social Workers Assisting Family Violence or Sexual Assault Survivors. Administration in Social Work, 35(3), 225-242. doi: 10.1080/03643107.2011.575333
Choi, G. (2011b). Secondary Traumatic Stress of Service Providers who Practice with Survivors of Family or Sexual Violence: A National Survey of Social Workers. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 81(1), 101-119. doi: 10.1080/00377317.2011.543044
Cohen, J. (2010). Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(4), 414-430. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2009.12.020
Cook, A, Spinazzola, J, Ford, J, Lanktree, C, Blaustein, M, Cloitre, M, . . . van der Kolk, B. (2005). Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 390-398. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/00485713-20050501-05
Cook, J, & Newman, E. (2014). A consensus statement on trauma mental health: The New Haven Competency Conference process and major findings. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6(4), 300-307. doi: 10.1037/a0036747
Cornille, T, & Meyers, T. (1999). Secondary traumatic stress among child protective service workers: Prevalence, severity and predictive factors. Traumatology, 5(1), No Pagination Specified.
Courtois, C, & Ford, J. (2013). Treating Complex Trauma: A Sequenced Relationship-Based Approach. New York: Guilford.
Crossan, M, Lane, H, & White, R. (1999). An Organizational Learning Framework: From Intuition to Institution. The Academy of Management Review, 24(3), 522-537.
Dagan, S, Ben-Porat, A, & Itzhaky, H. (2016). Child protection workers dealing with child abuse: The contribution of personal, social and organizational resources to secondary traumatization. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 203-211.
Dombo, E, & Blome, W. (2016). Vicarious trauma in child welfare workers: A study of organizational responses. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 10(5), 505-523.
DuRoss, C, Fallon, B, & Black, T. (2019). Group home and residential treatment placements in child welfare: Analyzing the 2003 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2003). Canada’s Children, 16(3), 67-76.
Eastwood, C, & Ecklund, K. (2008). Compassion Fatigue Risk and Self-Care Practices among Residential Treatment Center Childcare Workers. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 25(2), 103-122. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08865710802309972
Felitti, V, Anda, R, Nordenberg, D, Williamson, D, Spitz, A, Edwards, V, . . . Marks, J. (1998). Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245-258. doi: 10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8
Figley, C. (1995). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Bruner/ Mazel.
Foa, E, Keane, T, Friedman, M, & Cohen, J. (2008). Effective treatments for PTSD: practice guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies: Guilford Press.
Follette, V, Polusny, M, & Milbeck, K. (1994). Mental health and law enforcement professionals: Trauma history, psychological symptoms, and impact of providing services to child sexual abuse survivors. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25(3), 275-282. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.25.3.275
Fonagy, P, & Campbell, C. (2015). Bad Blood Revisited: Attachment and Psychoanalysis, 2015. British journal of psychotherapy, 31(2), 229-250. doi: 10.1111/bjp.12150
Ford, J. (2014). Neurobiological and Developmental Research: Clinical Implications. In C. A. Courtois & J. D. Ford (Eds.), Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: scientific foundations and therapeutic models. New York: Guilford Press.
Ford, J, Chapman, J, Connor, D, & Cruise, K. (2012). Complex trauma and aggression in secure juvenile justice settings. . Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39, 694–724. doi: 10.1177/0093854812436957
Geoffrion, S, & Ouellet, F. (2013). Quand la réadaptation blesse? Éducateurs victimes de violence. Criminologie, 46(2), 263-289.
Graef, M, & Hill, E. (2000). Costing child protective services staff turnover.
Hébert, S, Lanctôt, N, & Turcotte, M. (2016). “I didn't want to be moved there”: Young women remembering their perceived sense of Agency in the Context of placement instability. Children and Youth Services Review, 70, 229-237. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.09.029
Hiles Howard, A, Parris, S, Hall, J, Call, C, Razuri, E, Purvis, K, & Cross, D. (2015). An examination of the relationships between professional quality of life, adverse childhood experiences, resilience, and work environment in a sample of human service providers. Children and Youth Services Review, 57, 141-148.
Hummer, V, Dollard, N, Robst, J, & Armstrong, M. (2010). Innovations in Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Practices in Youth Residential Treatment: A Curriculum for Organizational Change. Child Welfare, 89(2), 79-95.
Itzick, M, & Kagan, M. (2017). Intention to Leave the Profession: Welfare Social Workers Compared to Health Care and Community Social Workers in Israel. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(3), 346-357. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01488376.2016.1246402
Kassam-Adams, N. (1998). The Risks of Treating Sexual Trauma: Stress and Secondary Trauma in Psychotherapists. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Secondary Traumatic Sress: Self-care issues for clinicians, researchers and educators. Luthervill, MD: Sidran Press.
Kessler, R, Berglund, P , Demler, O, Jin, R, Merikangas, K, & Walters, E. (2005). Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593-602. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593
Lamothe, J, Couvrette, A, Lebrun, G, Yale-Soulière, G, Roy, C, Guay, S, & Geoffrion, S. (2018). Violence against child protection workers: A study of workers’ experiences, attributions, and coping strategies. Child Abuse & Neglect, 81, 308-321. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.04.027
Littlechild, B. (2005). The Nature and Effects of Violence against Child-Protection Social Workers: Providing Effective Support. The British Journal of Social Work, 35(3), 387-401.
Lünnemann, M, Horst, F, Prinzie, P, Luijk, M, & Steketee, M. (2019). The intergenerational impact of trauma and family violence on parents and their children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 96, 104134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104134
Madden, E, Scannapieco, M, & Painter, K. (2014). An examination of retention and length of employment among public child welfare workers. Children and Youth Services Review, 41(0), 37-44. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.02.015
McCann, I, & Pearlman, L. (1990). Vicarious Traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 3(1), 131-149. doi: 10.1002/jts.2490030110
McGowan, B, Auerbach, C, & Strolin-Goltzman, J. (2009). Turnover in the Child Welfare Workforce: A Different Perspective. Journal of Social Service Research, 35(3), 228-235. doi: 10.1080/01488370902900782
McNamara, P. (2010). Staff Support and Supervision in Residential Youth Justice: An Australian Model. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 27(3), 214-240. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0886571X.2010.501630
Middleton, J, & Potter, C. (2015). Relationship Between Vicarious Traumatization and Turnover Among Child Welfare Professionals. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 9(2), 195-216. doi: 10.1080/15548732.2015.1021987
Miller, B, & Sprang, G. (2017). A components-based practice and supervision model for reducing compassion fatigue by affecting clinician experience. Traumatology, 23(2), 153-164.
Model, Missouri. (2014). A Developmental Framework for Trauma-informed Approaches: MO Dept. of Mental Health and Partners.
Molnar, B, Sprang, G, Killian, K, Gottfried, R, Emery, V, & Bride, B. (2017). Advancing science and practice for vicarious traumatization/secondary traumatic stress: A research agenda. Traumatology, 23(2), 129-142. doi: 10.1037/trm0000122
Mor Barak, M, Nissly, J, & Levin, A. (2001). Antecedents to Retention and Turnover among Child Welfare, Social Work, and Other Human Service Employees: What Can We Learn from Past Research? A Review and Metanalysis. Social Service Review, 75(4), 625-661. doi: 10.1086/323166
Mor Barak, M, Travis, D, Pyun, H, & Xie, B. (2009). The Impact of Supervision on Worker Outcomes: A Meta‐analysis. Social Service Review, 83(1), 3-32. doi: 10.1086/599028
National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2018). STS-Informed Competencies for Trauma-Informed Supervision.
NCTSN Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma Task Force. (2012). The 12 core concepts: Concepts for understanding traumatic stress responses in children and families, Core curriculum on childhood trauma. Los Angeles, CA/Durham, NC: UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.
Nissly, J, Barak, M, & Levin, A. (2005). Stress, Social Support, and Workers' Intentions to Leave Their Jobs in Public Child Welfare. Administration in Social Work, 29(1), 79-100. doi: 10.1300/J147v29n01_06
Ozer, E, Best, S, Lipsey, T, & Weiss, D. (2003). Predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder and symptoms in adults: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 129(1), 52-73. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.1.52
Pearlman, L, & Courtois, C. (2005). Clinical applications of the attachment framework: Relational treatment of complex trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 449-459. doi: 10.1002/jts.20052
Pross, C, & Schweitzer, S. (2010). The culture of organizations dealing with trauma: Sources of work-related stress and conflict. Traumatology, 16(4), 97-108.
Pryce, J, Shackelford, K, & Pryce, D. (2007). Secondary traumatic stress and the child welfare professional. Chicago: Lyceum Books.
Regehr, C, Leslie, B, Howe, P, & Chau, S. (2005). Stress, trauma, and support in child welfare practice. APSAC Advisor, 17, 12-18.
Robson, A, Cossar, J, & Quayle, E. (2014). Critical Commentary: The Impact of Work-Related Violence towards Social Workers in Children and Family Services. British Journal of Social Work, 44(4), 924-936. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcu015
Salloum, A, Kondrat, D, Johnco, C, & Olson, K. (2015). The role of self-care on compassion satisfaction, burnout and secondary trauma among child welfare workers. Children and Youth Services Review, 49(2), 54-61. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.12.023
SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative. (2014). SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach. (HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4884). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Schauben, L, & Frazier, P. (1995). Vicarious Trauma: The Effects on Female Counselors of Working with Sexual Violence Survivors. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19(1), 49-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1995.tb00278.x
Schmidt, G. (2002). How long are you staying? Retention of social workers in northern child welfare practice. (NQ89701 Ph.D.), Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), Ann Arbor. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305471643?accountid=12339
http://mcgill.on.worldcat.org/atoztitles/link?sid=ProQ:&issn=&volume=&issue=&title=How+long+are+you+staying%3F+Retention+of+social+workers+in+northern+child+welfare+practice&spage=&date=2002-01-01&atitle=How+long+are+you+staying%3F+Retention+of+social+workers+in+northern+child+welfare+practice&au=Schmidt%2C+Glen+G&id=doi: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text database.
Shin, J. (2011). Client violence and its negative impacts on work attitudes of child protection workers compared to community service workers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(16), 3338-3360. doi: 10.1177/0886260510393002
Shonkoff, J, Garner, A, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care, & Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), 232-246. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2663
Slattery, S, & Goodman, L. (2009). Secondary traumatic stress among domestic violence advocates: Workplace risk and protective factors. Violence Against Women, 15(11), 1358-1379.
Spinazzola, J, Ford, J, Zucker, M, van der Kolk, B, Silva, S, Smith, S, & Blaustein, M. (2005). Survey Evaluates Complex Trauma Exposure, Outcome, and Intervention Among Children and Adolescents. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 433-439.
Sprang, G, Craig, C, & Clark, J. (2011). Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout in Child Welfare Workers: A Comparative Analysis of Occupational Distress Across Professional Groups. Child Welfare, 90(6), 149-168.
Sprang, G, Ford, J, Kerig, P, & Bride, B. (2019). Defining secondary traumatic stress and developing targeted assessments and interventions: Lessons learned from research and leading experts. Traumatology, 25(2), 72-81. doi: 10.1037/trm0000180
Sprang, G, Ross, L, Miller, B, Blackshear, K, & Ascienzo, S. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Secondary Traumatic Stress–Informed Organizational Assessment. Traumatology, 23(2), 165.
Stamm, B. (1995). Secondary Traumatic Stress: Self-care issues for clinicians, researchers and educators. Baltimore: Sidran Press.
Strand, V, & Sprang, G. (2018). Trauma responsive child welfare systems Retrieved from WorldCat database doi:10.1007/978-3-319-64602-2
Strolin, J, McCarthy, M, & Caringi, J. (2006). Causes and Effects of Child Welfare Workforce Turnover. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1(2), 29-52. doi: 10.1300/J479v01n02_03
Strolin-Goltzman, J, Kollar, S, & Trinkle, J. (2010). Listening to the Voices of Children in Foster Care: Youths Speak Out about Child Welfare Workforce Turnover and Selection. Social Work, 55(1), 47-53. doi: 10.1093/sw/55.1.47
Tollen, W. (1960). Study of staff losses in child welfare and family services agencies. Washington, D.C.
Tremblay, C, Haines, V, & Joly, J. (2016). Staff Turnover and Service Quality Within Residential Settings. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, 40(1), 22-36. doi: 10.1080/23303131.2015.1085479
Ungar, M. (2005). Pathways to Resilience Among Children in Child Welfare, Corrections, Mental Health and Educational Settings: Navigation and Negotiation. Child and Youth Care Forum, 34(6), 423-444.
Ungar, M. (2013). Resilience after maltreatment: The importance of social services as facilitators of positive adaptation. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(2), 110-115. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.08.004
van der Hart, O, Nijenhuis, E, & Steele, K. (2005). Dissociation: An insufficiently recognized major feature of complex posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 413-423. doi: 10.1002/jts.20049
van der Kolk, B, Roth, S, Pelcovitz, D, Sunday, S, & Spinazzola, J. (2005). Disorders of extreme stress: The empirical foundation of a complex adaptation to trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 389-399. doi: 10.1002/jts.20047
Van Hook, M, & Rothenberg, M. (2009). Quality of Life and Compassion Satisfaction/Fatigue and Burnout in Child Welfare Workers: A Study of the Child Welfare Workers in Community Based Care Organizations in Central Florida. Social Work & Christianity, 36(1), 36-54.
Zerach, G. (2013). Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction Among Residential Child Care Workers: The Role of Personality Resources. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 30(1), 72-91. doi: 10.1080/0886571X.2012.761515