Identifying Trauma-Informed Services & Treatment

Often the Chester County ACEs Coalition is asked to identify and refer residents of Chester County to specific trauma-informed services and treatment. Without having a way to measure the services and if they are truly trauma-informed, the members of the Chester County ACEs Coalition created a list of questions to assist in empowering individuals to identify whether an agency or organization is providing trauma-informed services and treatment.

According to the issue brief entitled "Key Ingredients for Successful Trauma-Informed Care Implementation" written by Christopher Menschner and Alexandra Maul from the Center for Health Care Strategies, the four key ingredients of trauma-informed clinical practices are as follows:

1.) Involving patients in the screening process
2.) Screening for Trauma
3.) Training staff in trauma-specific treatment approaches
4.) Engaging referral sources and partnering organizations

Considering this information, CCACEs Coalition Leadership Committee Members as well as Co-Chairs of the coalition's Training/Education Workgroup, Brian McGinley and Dr. Nadine Bean, have created the following questions as a tool to help those seeking trauma-informed services and treatment.

When initiating contact with an agency or organization, consider asking the following questions to help understand and identify if trauma-informed services and treatment options are provided: 

1.)  Do you involve your patients/clients in the treatment process?

  • For example: Do you create goals together? Do you give an opportunity for patient/client feedback and dialogue regarding the treatment process? 

2.) Do you use trauma screening tools that are age specific?

  • Tools could include the ACEs Questionnaire, PEARLS, Urban ACEs, Resilience Tool, Primary Care PTSD Screening Tool, PHQ-2 or PHQ-9

3.) Has your staff received training in trauma-informed care approaches?

  • Examples could include Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Peer Support Programs, etc. 

4.) Do you have a network of referral sources/partnering organizations that can provide services beyond what your organization can provide?