Evaluating the Need for Trauma-Informed Care in a Behavioral Health System of Care


  • Megan J. Freeman University of Mississippi
  • John Young University of Mississippi
  • Kayla Erickson Mississippi Children’s Home Services
  • John Damon Mississippi Children’s Home Services
  • Kathy Crockett Hinds Behavioral Health Services




Potentially traumatic events (PTE) can occur in the life of an individual and can cause long-term psychological harm, including symptoms or diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A large number of youth currently receiving mental and behavioral health services have been exposed to PTE, and a subset of those struggle with distressing and impairing symptoms of PTSD. Often, these youth have not and will not receive appropriate care, which can include Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and trauma-informed care (e.g., Sanctuary). We sought to identify rates of exposure to PTE and expression of PTSD symptoms in youth receiving services in a system of care and found that 95% of the sample reported exposure to at least one PTE (mean = 5). One third of the sample reported a significant burden of PTSD symptoms (5 or more rated highly in the past month). These findings support the trauma-informed care principle of universal precautions in environments that provide mental and behavioral health services to youth. Case vignettes are presented and implications for practice are discussed.




How to Cite

Freeman, M., Young, J., Erickson, K., Damon, J., & Crockett, K. (2020). Evaluating the Need for Trauma-Informed Care in a Behavioral Health System of Care. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, 25, 53–65. https://doi.org/10.5195/jcycw.2015.71



Research and Practice Articles