Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth


Healthy brain development is essential for realizing one’s full potential and for overall well-being. For children and youth who experience child abuse or neglect and associated trauma, brain development may be interrupted, leading to functional impairments. Ongoing maltreatment can alter a child’s brain development and affect mental, emotional, and behavioral health into adulthood. Frontline child welfare professionals are in a unique position to recognize developmental delays in children and youth and provide appropriate support services. This bulletin summarizes what you can do to promote healthy brain development for this vulnerable group of children and youth and put families and service providers in touch with the most effective, evidence-based interventions.

  • Introduction
  • Understanding Trauma and Brain Development
  • Encouraging Healthy Brain Development
  • Screening Children for Services and Working With Other Providers
  • Treatment for Trauma-Affected Children and Youth
  • Conclusion
  • References


Assessment Behavior Collaboration Early Childhood Elementary Emotional Disability Evidence-Based Practice Intellectual Disability Middle School Preschool Professional Resources Social/Emotional