How can I help children who have been abused or neglected?

Children who have experienced abuse or neglect need support from caring adults who understand the impact of trauma and how to help.

  • Help children feel safe. Support them in expressing and managing intense emotions.
  • Help children understand their trauma history and current experiences (for example, by helping them understand that what happened was not their fault, or helping them see how their current emotions might be related to past trauma).
  • Assess the impact of trauma on the child, and address any trauma-related challenges in the child’s behavior, development, and relationships.
  • Support and promote safe and stable relationships in the child’s life, including supporting the child’s family and caregivers if appropriate. Often parents and caregivers have experienced trauma, too.
  • Manage your own stress. Providers who have histories of trauma themselves may be at particular risk.
  • Refer the child to trauma-informed services, which may be more effective than generic services that do not address trauma.


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