Building a Trauma-Informed Texas 

Welcome to This webpage includes resources created in whole or in part by members of the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) as well as resources from other state and national organizations. The SCTIC and the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families (Children’s Commission) do not endorse any particular training resource, modality, or curriculum. Materials and links found on this page are not an endorsement of any organizations or approaches. The materials should not be construed as an advisory or ruling by or from the Supreme Court of Texas on specific cases or legal issues. These materials are solely intended to address the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice and are only included for informational purposes.

A trauma-informed Texas child welfare system serves every child and family with dignity and respect. Through this webpage, the SCTIC aims to provide information and resources so Texas can accelerate the many efforts across our state to bring a trauma-informed and equity lens to each child and family that interacts with the child welfare system.

What is the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care?

The SCTIC is a dedicated network of professionals and stakeholders invested in transforming the Texas child welfare system into a system that routinely views children and families as individuals who have experienced traumatic events. Under the leadership of the Children’s Commission, the SCTIC embarked on the first phase of its efforts in 2017 by developing objectives and strategies for moving the entire Texas child welfare system forward in a trauma-informed manner. Based on the SCTIC’s work, the Children’s Commission published Building a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System: A Blueprint.

The Blueprint creates a roadmap for the Texas child welfare system to become trauma-informed and trauma-responsive and invites innovation and improvement in the approach to trauma-informed care in both the public and private sectors. The SCTIC Implementation Task Force provides a vehicle for implementing the Blueprint by organizing and collaborating on statewide and local efforts.


Guiding Principles

Based on the SCTIC’s work, the Children’s Commission published Building a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System: A Blueprint. The Blueprint is organized by nine Guiding Principles that form the basis for all the work being done by the SCTIC.


The SCTIC adopted the following definitions for “Trauma” and “Trauma-Informed” based on existing definitions from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services adopted these definitions under Texas Administrative Code Section 702.201.



Results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning or the individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.


An individual, program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed fully integrates knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices by:

  • Realizing the widespread impact of trauma, understanding potential paths for recovery, and acknowledging the compounding impact of structural inequities related to culture, history, race, gender, identity, locale, and language;
  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
  • Maximizing physical and psychological safety and responding to the impact of structural inequities on individuals and communities;
  • Building healthy, trusting relationships that create mutuality among children, families, caregivers, and professionals at an individual and organizational level; and striving to avoid re-traumatization.

Trauma-Informed Training

In collaboration with the Children’s Commission’s SCTIC and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the SAMHSA South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) has compiled training resources and created documents meant to provide information on available trauma-informed care training resources for various stakeholders in a child’s life. While not an exhaustive list, these resource pages are a helpful starting place to locate appropriate training for a specific role.

The full list of documents is available on MHTTC's website.

Role-specific training resources are linked below:

2021 Judicial Trauma Institute

The Judicial Trauma Institute was presented live on April 22-23, 2021 via webcast. The content was designed by Commission staff in partnership with the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) Training Workgroup and hosted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. The goal of the conference was for judicial teams to gain information and discover practical tools and resources about how to become a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive court in child welfare cases. Judicial teams were composed by judges who invited the following members from their jurisdictions: a court coordinator; a prosecutor; an attorney who takes appointments for parents and for children in CPS cases; a senior-level Caseworker or Supervisor at DFPS; and a CASA Executive Director or Program Director. Due to the virtual format, additional child welfare stakeholders and single registrant judges also attended.

Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Judicial Trauma Institute webpage.

Organizational Assessments

The key to creating and sustaining a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive child welfare system is adopting and nurturing a culture that integrates knowledge, belief, behavior, values, and goals affecting every level of service and care for the children and families who experience it. The policies and practices of child and family serving organizations should acknowledge that children, youth, young adults, and families in the child welfare system have experienced trauma, and may continue to experience trauma, and that the systems, practices, and programs that serve them should be trauma-informed and aim for equitable outcomes.

Developing a culture begins with a review of the current practices and policies being utilized to assess children and families and comparing them to a trauma-informed model. Also, considering life experiences and cultural backgrounds is key to fully understanding how trauma affects each individual, family, or community. A Trauma-Informed Organizational Assessment (TIOA) tool can help an organization evaluate implementation of trauma-informed care and identify areas of policy, practice, and programming on which to build and areas for improvement.

The Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) reviewed existing TIOAs and identified eight core areas of focus: Policies & Procedures, Environment, Services, Leadership, Staff, Consumer-Organization Relationship, Cultural Competence/Diversity, Partnership/Outreach. (Note, some TIOAs do not contain all eight areas of focus.)  Many of the TIOAs include manuals to help with administering the assessment and tool kits to assist with interpreting the findings. All TIOAs included in this list are available at no cost.

The SCTIC compiled a list of TIOAs to help organizations with implementation of trauma-informed practices and policies. This information was gathered from multiple sources; SCTIC members and the Children’s Commission cannot guarantee the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information or the effectiveness of utilizing the TIOA. The SCTIC and Children’s Commission do not endorse any one TIOA tool. This list is intended to serve as a non-exhaustive list of TIOAs as the field continues to change and evolve regarding trauma-informed practices.

Links to the individual TIOAs are provided on the document for each TIOA. The TIOA documents are up to date as of March 2021.

Trauma-Informed Agency Assessment Version 1.4

This 35-item, validated assessment is directed primarily at children’s behavioral health agencies. Its development was heavily influenced by systems of care theory and incorporated the voices of families. In addition to surveys for agency staff, surveys are also available for youth and families.

Trauma-Informed Program Self-Assessment Scale

Applicable to human services agencies and programs, this 44-item, validated assessment includes surveys for administrators, providers, and survivor-consumers. The developers created a companion document to supplement the scale, and a revised version of the scale is also available. This scale has been adapted by a number of entities. 

Program Fidelity Scale Version 1.3

The goal of this assessment, which is a revised version of the Trauma-Informed Program Self-Assessment Scale, is to gauge the extent to which a program or agency has developed a culture of trauma-informed care. The assessment includes 16 items, each with a subset of indicators. The assessment includes an instruction guide.

Organizational Self-Assessment: Adoption of Trauma-Informed Care 

This 34-item assessment, created by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, allows for participation from leadership, supervisors, practitioners, consumers, and support staff. The assessment is geared toward organizations that provide behavioral health services, but it has been adapted for use in primary care settings. The assessment is designed for a variety of sources for data collection, including interviews with leadership, staff, and clients; review of clinical records, policy documents and formal surveys; and in-person observation.

Tre-SIA Self-Assessment

This 50-item self-assessment geared to any organization can be completed by an individual or as a team-based activity. The TIOA assesses Leadership and Culture, Trauma-Informed Care/Response Structure, Policies and Processes, Employee Skills, and Tools and Resources. The assessment also aims to help organizations map their scores, provide recommendations from each response, and develop an action plan that includes organizational policies and procedures.

NCFH Trauma-Informed Organizational Assessment

This assessment was created by The National Center on Family Homelessness to address homelessness. The 135-item self-assessment is designed to be completed by all staff members in the organization, including direct care staff (full time, part-time, and relief), supervisors, case managers, clinicians, administrators (e.g., program managers, directors, executive directors, etc.) and support staff (e.g., office support, maintenance, kitchen staff, etc.). It includes a detailed user’s guide, how-to manual to create organizational change. Note: This assessment includes Three Adapted Assessments.

Trauma Responsive School Implementation Assessment

This assessment was created for school administrators and staff by the Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resilience, Hope, and Wellness in Schools, in collaboration with the Center for School Mental Health. The 35-item evidence-informed self-assessment was created using the RAND/UCLA Modifies Delphi Approach to efficiently and quickly identify strengths and weaknesses in trauma response policies within schools.

Trauma-Informed System Change Instrument Organizational Change Self-Assessment

Created by the Southwest Michigan’s Children’s Trauma Assessment Center (CTAC), this validated 19-item self-assessment is designed for individual agency members in the child welfare system. This assessment tracks changes at a service provider level and asks individuals to assess their agency as their individual trauma-informed operations.

Trauma-System Readiness Tool

This 46-item self-assessment is designed to be administered to multiple informants across all organization levels within child welfare agencies, including caseworkers, supervisors, managers, and administrators. It is a part of the larger Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice Toolkit that includes a number of resources for child welfare systems. This assessment was developed to align with the Essential Elements of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare resource developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).

Trauma-Informed Juvenile Court Self-Assessment (TI-JCSA)

This validated assessment was created by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) for juvenile court systems. It is designed to assess the level at which court systems attain eight essential elements, outlined by the NCTSN, that represent aspirational standards for the operations of juvenile justice systems. It is designed to be completed by a self-assessment team and contains resources for system improvement.

Standards of Practice for TIC

This 51-item assessment was designed to help organizations, systems, and agencies implement trauma-informed care. The Standards of Practice were developed and reviewed by a workgroup that included family members, youth, and individuals with lived experience in trauma-informed care as well as providers from different fields of practice. The assessment is designed to be used by multi-level teams within organizations.

Trauma-Sensitive School Checklist

This 26-item checklist was developed to be used by school systems to assess their level of trauma-sensitivity. It is designed to help foster a school environment that enables students to build caring relationships and succeed academically. The checklist is designed to be completed by multiple team members within a school system.

Complete List of TIOAs