How do children of different ages experience trauma?

It is important for everyone in the child welfare system — including frontline caseworkers, foster parents, supervisors, and court personnel — to understand that not all trauma looks the same. Children of different ages and stages of development may show very different signs of trauma, and they may have very different needs as a result.

The child welfare field is learning more about how children are affected by trauma, including the effects of child abuse and neglect, and the trauma that may be caused by investigation, removal, and placement — the very interventions created to protect children from harm.

The infographic below highlights Children’s Experience of Traumatic Situations at different stages of their growth and development.1

To learn more about how child protection agencies can increase their levels of trauma sensitivity while carrying out child protective processes, see: How does investigation, removal, and placement cause trauma for children? and How can investigation, removal, and placement processes be more trauma-informed?

Children’s Experience of Traumatic Situations

1 Adapted from and