Traditional Methodologies

OUTDATED APPROACH

The current system was founded to keep children--who had already experienced abuse or neglect--physically safe from danger, without consideration of children’s needs for psychological and emotional protection. We now know that children who are separated from their families and caregivers suffer from compounded trauma, and without first addressing this grief and loss, children cannot heal.

The current child welfare system is not designed with the understanding of the ways in which trauma impacts children’s behavior and functioning, or with the tools to address it. Children do not “talk” their grief, they “do” their grief, creating considerable challenges with how to address their pain-based behaviors.

Unsupported children and young people are particularly ill equipped to cope with major traumas. They often lack the developmental skills to process or articulate their grief on their own. Instead, they act out, often through aggression, and get stuck in a vicious cycle: withdrawing emotionally or having violent outbursts, which drive away potential support. This loss and loneliness then further compounds the trauma. Over time, young people lose the ability to connect with and trust others.

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