Trauma-Informed Training for Human Services

Advances in neuroscience (e.g. brain imaging) have helped health providers and child welfare advocates better understand the harmful impact of abuse, neglect and exposure to violence on children.  Although the impact of this trauma is clear, there remains a substantial gap between what is known and what the public children’s service systems in Philadelphia are doing about it.  Multiplying Connections, under the auspices of the Health Federation of Philadelphia and with funding from the William Penn Foundation, is attempting to close the gap between knowledge and action by training children’s services providers about trauma and its impact on child development.  The Steering Committee of this cross-system initiative has developed a set of competencies—essential knowledge, values, attitudes and skills—that the workforce must have in order to deliver ‘trauma-informed’ services. 

Sophia Hwang joined this effort by assessing the extent to which current courses available to children’s services professionals in Philadelphia include the trauma-informed competencies developed by Multiplying Connections.  She used “curriculum mapping" to gather and analyze data on what is taught in a particular curriculum.  Sophia analyzed the data she generated and made recommendations to training providers and to the Multiplying Connections Steering Committee on how to improve existing curricula to promote trauma-informed practice.