Many children and youth in the foster care system have experienced trauma. Within this population, there is significant overlap between the symptoms of mental illness and symptoms of trauma, with up to 62 percent of 13-17 year-olds in foster care exhibiting signs of both.

Child-serving systems should provide clinicians with the tools to distinguish between both, ensuring that trauma is addressed in the context of any co-existing mental health needs. This may also reduce inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medications to children in foster care who are more likely to receive these medications – particularly antipsychotics.

This session explored how the Administration of Children and Families is focusing on trauma-informed approaches and the grants made to-date. Presenters from Connecticut and Texas highlighted their state’s efforts to implement trauma-informed approaches to behavioral health care within their child welfare agencies, with a focus on design, implementation, and outcomes.


  • Joyce Pfennig, PhD, Administration of Children and Families
  • Marilyn Cloud, LCSW, Connecticut Department of Children and Families
  • Jason Lang, PhD, Connecticut Center for Effective Practice
  • Christian Connell, PhD, The Consultation Center, Child Health and Development, Yale School of Medicine
  • Audrey Deckinga, LMSW-MSSW, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services