Trauma-Informed Parenting: Supplemental Resources ( Reviewed by a Parent

Gail Kennedy, the ACEsConnection Director of Programs shared a fantastic resource with me called: Trauma-Informed Parenting: Supplemental Resources. It is available through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) .

It was originally called Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma and as part of a workshop for resource parents in the child welfare system. Resource parents, I believe, are are long-term and temporary foster parents as well as adoptive parents and those doing what I’ve heard called therapeutic parenting.


Because it was such a great resource, facilitators and clinicians distributed to more and more people not only resource parents. It’s attached below and I’ve had a chance to read and review it for us at Parenting with ACEs.

What’s Included

The sub-sections are in-depth but not too long. They are well-titled and self-explanatory. Here’s the list of the ones included and their length:

  • The Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Parenting 
    • 2 pages
  • Child Traumatic Stress: A Primer for Parents
    • 3 pages
  • Understanding Brain Development in Young Children
    • 7 pages
    • This is comprehensive with excellent references
  • The Invisible Suitcase: Meeting the Needs of Traumatized Children
    • All sub-sections are good but this one is excellent
    • 3 pages
  • Managing Emotional “Hot Spots”:Tips for Parents
    • 3 pages
      • Unfortunately, only includes the hot spot of child
  • The Importance of Touch: Caring for Young Children Who Have Experienced Trauma
    • 1 page
  • Tuning Into Your Child’s Emotions: Tips for Parents
    • 2 pages
  • Developing Your Advocacy Skills
    • 4 pages
    • some helpful information but not geared to all parents
  • Tips for Being Fabulous Trauma-Informed Parent
    • 4 pages
      •  This section could be used as a stand-alone. It’s comprehensive, accessible and the easiest to read as it has lots of visuals as well as text.

For parents without ACEs, it’s one of the best resources I have seen for describing traumatic stress. It explains adversity impacts children – except – it includes nothing about ACEs or parenting with ACEs. 

What’s Missing

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
    • There’s no mention of the ACE study at all or of the ACEs science.
      • There is great information about brain development and the impact of trauma which includes neglect but not household dysfunction.
  • Trauma-informed Treatments Considered Effective 
    • Trauma-focused treatments with effectiveness established are referred to but not included, list, explained or detailed. I’d love to know what they are and who and how they are deemed effective. What’s considered evidence-based isn’t always effective or appealing to people of all ages getting trauma treatment. I know MANY an adults who have sought (and are still seeking) treatments for trauma that are at all effective whether traditional or non-traditional. Traditional trauma treatments have had limited effectiveness for some and even been harmful to others. This topic deserves to be covered in detail.
      • Integrating ACEs science more into the medical model when treating both physical and emotional health issues will likely improve outcomes. Also, when treatments said to be trauma informed are informed by the trauma survivors being treated, everyone will benefit. however, this is not yet done formally or routinely that I am aware of.
  • Language geared towards parents who are not foster parents.
    • It is clear that it was once used for foster families as there are few stories or mentions of children’s experiences with trauma and neglect outside of adversity.
  • Emphasis on Self-Care for Parents
    • It is mentioned a few times. It’s not ignored and that’s great. However, both children and parents with ACEs need more self-care and will have a harder time prioritizing because of ACEs. so it needs to be an area focused on in depth. How can people of all ages practice, manage and afford self-care, and do it at home and on a budget?
  • Images and Space
    • The document is long, single spaced and dense.  I love words but I craved images so I know others will as well.
  • Stories from Real-Life Families  
    • It’s accessible and informative but it’s not all that warm and friendly. It doesn’t include day to day life enough or the voice of parents. It can sound a little like a professional speaking down or at parent rather than relating with. It’s not overbearing to the point of being unable to read.
  • impact of Parenting with ACEs.
    • There is nothing about parents who come to parenting with ACEs and since this is not a small number of people it’s too bad. The book was written first for a targeted and specific group, resource parents, and maybe they already cover this topic elsewhere. However, it’s implied that this group doesn’t have a trauma history which is unlikely. (Disclosure: I’m a high ACE scoring adoptive parent who learned about healing and attachment while researching the impact of neglect and trauma on infants in orphanages. Remarkably, neglect wasn’t discussed in any of my own trauma treatment nor was attachment. For me, attachment parenting not only provided a parenting style and approach but a framework for my own healing. I know I’m not the only one.
      • the role of inter-generational trauma in families and the need and possibilities for multi-generational healing approaches isn’t addressed at all.

While there’s a lot to add and include and expand upon, this is a fantastic resource. It’s a document worth reading and sharing, personally and professionally.

I recommend signing up at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network  to access their extensive database. Like our Network here at ACEs, one must sign up to be part of the network, but it’s free there as it is here.

The section called the Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC) Online is the one most relevant to us in the Parenting with ACEs Group but the entire site is excellent.

Here’s to all of the individuals and organizations who care about children and trauma survivors. Here’s to trauma-informed parentin. Here’s to using ACEs science to educate and encourage self-healing in people and communities.

As Jane Stevens reminded me earlier today, via email:


You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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