Trauma among Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders

TraumaPsychological trauma is an emotional response that commonly occurs after distressing or life-threatening events like child abuse, neglect or living with a caregiver diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) or mental illness. Traumatic experiences can trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance use and poor social, educational and occupational functioning. Research has provided substantial evidence linking trauma exposure and SUDs, child abuse, neglect and judicial involvement. Children and families involved in child welfare, substance abuse treatment and court systems often have significant, prolonged and generational exposure to traumatic environments and experiences. The resources below focus on trauma within the substance abuse treatment, child welfare and court systems and its impact on the children and families who enter those systems.

Trauma-Informed Care Walkthrough Project Report – Data and FindingsTrauma-Informed Care Walkthrough Project Report – Data and Findings (PDF 4,830 KB)
This report describes findings from the Trauma-Informed Care Assessment Project, through which NCSACW conducted trauma-informed care walkthrough assessments with five partnerships across the country with Family Drug Courts that serve families affected by substance abuse and child maltreatment. These walkthrough assessments enabled the sites to better understand services through the eyes of their clients, uncovered inadvertent trauma triggers and generated concrete changes to become a more trauma-informed system. This report provides information on key strategies that systems can implement to minimize trauma triggers for clients.

  • Trauma-Informed Care for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders

    This webinar explores the systems and practice level changes that can be made to provide trauma-informed care.

Key Resources

  • Effects of Childhood Trauma Exposure
    Includes resources, toolkits and publications that provide an overview on the impact of childhood trauma exposure across the lifespan.
  • Child Welfare and Trauma
    Provides trauma-specific resources, toolkits and publications for professionals working within child welfare and other child-serving systems.
  • Substance Use and Mental Disorder Treatment and Trauma
    Provides resources, toolkits and publications for substance use and mental disorder treatment professionals on working with trauma-exposed clients.
  • Trauma Issues within Juvenile Justice, Family Drug Court and Other Justice Systems
    Provides resources, toolkits and publications for court professionals on trauma issues within court and criminal justice systems.
  • Trauma, Veterans and Military Families
    Provides resources, toolkits and publications that address trauma exposure within veteran and active-military families.
  • Tribal Families and Trauma Exposure
    Offers resources, toolkits and publications related to tribal populations and historical trauma.
  • Trauma Resource Center Websites
    Provides a listing and description of further resource websites you can visit for more information on children and families affected by trauma exposure.
  • Trauma Literature Review
    Provides a list of peer-reviewed research article citations divided by specific focus areas; effects of trauma exposure women, children and families, trauma and child welfare, trauma, family drug courts and criminal justice systems, trauma and tribal populations, trauma and substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health treatment, and trauma and military and veteran families.
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