Trauma-Informed Care: An Ecological Response

Carmela deCandia and Kathleen Guarino

Exposure to traumatic stress is increasingly understood as a common denominator of children and youth across service systems. Unlike the usual stresses of our daily lives, traumatic experiences occur outside the realm of usual experience, threaten one’s life or bodily integrity, and invoke intense feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and terror.

Trauma-informed care represents an emerging shift in paradigm and practice. An ecological approach, trauma-informed care can be viewed as a universal design for serving trauma survivors; the entire system is used as a vehicle for intervention.

This article, originally published in the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, provides a comprehensive review of trauma-informed care—its evolution, current models and practice, and evidence base.