Title: Evidence summary: Interventions for children exposed to trauma
Author: Parenting Research Centre
While there are many approaches targeting the effects of childhood trauma, few have been evaluated. As a result, Australian organisations are choosing approaches that do not have strong evidence that they work. This evidence summary examines which interventions for helping children exposed to trauma are supported by evidence, who is using them, and why or why not.
The evidence summary draws on a report prepared by the Parenting Research Centre with the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health in 2013 on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Social Services. The report consists of a rapid evidence assessment, an online survey of practitioners, and in-depth interviews with organisational leaders and senior managers.
Report key findings
- There is a limited evidence base for approaches that help children exposed to trauma arising from abuse and neglect.
- The approach with the strongest supporting evidence was Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Eight other approaches were also supported by research evidence.
- Within the Australian child welfare and family support sectors, there is low uptake of approaches that have been demonstrated as safe and effective through research.
- Cost, staffing, and client and service characteristics influence decisions to adopt an approach.
- Child and family organisations often modify evidence-based approaches. These modified approaches are rarely evaluated.