Functional Assessment of Child Trauma

Residential Caregivers

If your agency provides services to kids or youth who have experienced trauma, you know the challenges of emotionally demanding and difficult behaviour. Children from trauma backgrounds can present us with a bewildering set or behaviours, and often arrive with long list of diagnoses and prior assessments. Many have found that typical strategies don’t work with these youth and it is hard to find balance between love and limits. Our clinical strategies focus on supporting the caregivers to provide healing attachment experiences, to reduce hyperarousal and hypervigilance through “bottom-up” and “top-down” strategies, and to mentor the child in developing emotional regulation skills.

Our website http://www.complextrauma.ca will provide you with information and resources that will be helpful for your caregivers or staff in not only understanding the effects of complex trauma but also how to implement effective strategies. Over the past 8 years, we have seen even the most challenging children and youth respond in incredibly positive ways to our trauma-focused approaches. Check out the carefully selected articles, videos, case examples, description of our approach, blogs, and more

Residential Caregiver Training modules

Our expert clinical staff have prepared a series of training modules for use for residential caregiver staff, foster parents, and those working with youth in other capacities. The modules are perfect for monthly training meetings and for the training of new staff. Agencies who use the Residential Caregiver Training modules report much greater success with their youth, and an increase in job satisfaction and retention of their staff.


What is the FACT how does it work?

Complex Trauma, toxic stress, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can affect children and youth in grievous ways. These experiences can lead to a range of social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties which are hard for parents, schools, and other adults to manage. They can also lead to challenges in many other areas related to the nervous system and basic physiology. The difficulties that children with complex trauma experience often result in being labelled with a variety of mental health and medical diagnoses.

Complex Trauma Resources specializes in finding child-specific solutions by providing system-wide planning, collaboration, and intervention tools to help these children and youth heal and grow, as well as providing the support needed to care for them.

Our Approach

The CTR Clinical Team has developed a cutting-edge approach to the effects of Complex Trauma in children and youth, based on a clear understanding of the brain-based effects that trauma can have on the developing brain. All our approaches are geared to giving simple and practical strategies that address the core needs of the child at a physical, emotional, and relational level.

All strategies are created following a thorough Heal ACEs Rating Tool™ (HeART™) of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. The HeART™ considers the following 7 Developmental Domains:

  • N - Neurological and Biological Maturity
  • O - Over-reactive Stress Response
  • E - Emotional Regulation
  • A - Attachment Style and Relationships
  • I - Identity Development
  • B - Behavioural Regulation
  • C - Cognitive and Language Development

This approach arises from the recognition that complex trauma and persistent maltreatment often affect children’s development in fairly consistent ways. Regardless of the type of maltreatment, its severity and frequency create profound, personal, and developmental effects for the children who experience them. The seven domains are adapted by CTR from the work of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and other researchers. For some background on Complex Trauma, please read the following article produced by NCTSN: http://pathwaysrtc.pdx.edu/pdf/fpW0702.pdf

The FACT tool is completed in a structured group interview with the adults who work with or know the student most closely. The group discusses a child’s strengths and weaknesses across the CTR 7 Developmental Domains and assigns a rating. From the ratings a rough Developmental Profile is generated allowing the team to view the child’s development compared to same age peers, along with an accompanying report.

Agency staff can generate an individualized intervention plan based on the results of the assessment, using the FACT Intervention Strategies guide and other supporting materials. Goals arising from the FACT profile can be incorporated into the child’s assessment and treatment plan and then monitored. We recommend re-doing the assessment at 4-6 month intervals to track progress. Aggregate reports which combine groups of children or youth are available as well. The FACT has been used successfully with children from age 4 to 16.

Dr. Chuck Geddes has published an article outlining some of our approach at CTR as well as a case example that shows an application of this model. (Add link to BCASW article).

What is included in fact package?

  • FACT Assessment tool online. Includes assessment, profile graph, individual client report, aggregate reports
  • FACT Rating Guide
  • FACT Intervention Strategies (9 pgs)
  • CTR Therapeutic Model Handbook – Caregiving approaches with Complex Trauma
  • Note: All packages require annual membership to www.complextrauma.ca and includes staff/caregiver training modules in the CTR Therapeutic Model. Materials provided with the modules include handouts on key topics related to trauma-informed practice in a residential or home setting.

How to adopt FACT for Residential Care Agencies?

  1. Designated staff person attends a CTR 2 day training PLUS 1 additional day for the HeART™. See https://www.complextrauma.ca/events-calendar/ for available dates.
  2. Purchase an annual group membership from www.complextrauma.ca. The reason for this is that a trauma-informed understanding will be crucial to your work and is the foundation for the FACT tool. We highly recommend that you consider the full Residential Agency Training package so that you can use the trauma training modules regularly as your staff learn the model.
  3. Register at HealACEs. Take the registration ID code provided at the CTR training event and follow the registration steps.
  4. Select a FACT assessment package based on the number of clients you wish to assess. You may select monthly billing based on the number of active clients, or an annual option.
  5. Create case. Each User can create case accounts and put these clients under different agency groupings. For instance, a User might create two Groups – Maple House, and Cedar House, and place multiple clients under each. Users can only see cases that they have created or cases they are invited to view by the case creator.
  6. Optional - Agencies have the option of purchasing case-specific consultation from experienced CTR clinicians. This support is offered through secure video conference calls where on-site consultation is not accessible. Consultants can help with all aspects of education, assessment, and intervention planning. Clinical consultation is available via scheduled multi-agency seminars or individualized appointments.