Wisconsin Trauma Project

From 2012 - 2020, the Wisconsin Trauma Project aimed to respond to the needs of children, families and their communities. In total, 40 counties and 4 tribes have participated in one or more components of the project. The project map shows which counties have had participating agencies/organizations in at least one component of the project.

The project had three components:

  1. Training for caregivers, community members, and child-serving professionals
  2. Training for mental health clinicians in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a trauma treatment for children ages 3-18
  3. Training and technical assistance in Trauma-informed County/Tribal Organizational Systems Change
"I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for inviting me to the training. It was amazing...I want to tell you that we now understand for the boys' sake how important it is that we all take part in raising them. They need their biological parents and so we need to do our best to keep them connected, even if that means effort on our part. The boys will need to see that everyone can work together to be healthy so that the boys can grow up as healthy as possible and know that many people can love them all at the same time. And that they can love lots of people all at the same time too...
You have been a part of making this family better in all its parts because you believe in us and continued to give us resources and the chance to continue learning so we could be better foster parents to these kiddos."
-Foster Parent

Why Trauma?

Child trauma can be hard to identify and understand. The symptoms can look like so many other physical and mental health issues.

For children in the child welfare system, untreated trauma can mean living out of the home longer It may also result in more changes in foster or family placements.

A child who has experienced a trauma may develop behaviors making it hard to form positive relationships with others. He or she may also continue the cycle of violence and abuse.

When the "root cause" of the issue is not recognized and treated, families and workers can feel worn out.

Fortunately, trauma-informed caregiving and treatment can help children recover from their difficult childhood experiences. It helps them learn new ways of thinking about themselves and the world around them.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Training

The Trauma Project provided training in TF-CBT to master’s-level and PhD-level therapist that treat children in the child welfare system.

Trauma Project Annual Reports

The Wisconsin Trauma Project Annual Report and Updates highlight the accomplishments of participating counties, tribes, clinicians and families. The updates also provide information on trauma-related initiatives throughout the state.

Trauma and Recovery Project

The Trauma and Recovery Project is an extension of the Trauma Project funded through a five-year grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). The project promotes accessible, coordinated, and effective trauma-focused treatments for children and families that are in the child welfare system or that are at risk of entering the system in Milwaukee and Racine counties.

DCF provides oversight of the grant, however there are a number of partners contributing to the work of the grant including:

The project reduces health disparities among underserved racial and ethnic minority groups by expanding capacity in three National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)-endorsed treatments:

    1. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
    2. Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)
    3. Child-parent psychotherapy (CPP)

Three committees have been formed with membership from the Milwaukee and Racine communities to oversee the work of the project:

  • Executive Committee
  • Performance Assessment and Continuous Enhancement (PACE) Service
  • Service Access and Family Engagement (SAFE)

Wisconsin Hawthorn Project/Trauma Informed Organization Curriculum

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) collaborated with Natural Wisdom Counseling from 2018-2020 to provide free trauma-informed training, resources, and technical assistance to organizations who serve children and families in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Hawthorn Project offers a free trauma-informed organizational curriculum, supplemental materials, and training resources/opportunities.

Strengthening Families and Systems: Building Positive Experiences with Children who have Experienced Trauma

This curriculum, developed from the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Trauma Informed Parenting workshop, assists parent figures to understand the impact of trauma. The goal of the workshops is to reduce transitions for children in foster and relative care and to help make reunifications as successful as possible.

The curriculum was developed to be presented to a mixed participant pool: birth parents, foster parent, kindship caregivers, adoptive parents, social workers and community members who gather together to learn about trauma and its effects on the brains and bodies of children. The password for these materials is NCTSNUCLA. Below are the curriculum chapters in numeric order.

  1. Welcome & Workshop Overview
  2. Introduction to Trauma
  3. Understanding Trauma’s Effects
  4. How a Child’s Trauma Can Affect Us
  5. Creating a Safe-Feeling Environment
  6. Understanding and Managing Feelings and Behaviors
  7. Connections and Healing
  8. Becoming an Advocate

Supplemental Materials

These materials are developed to be provided to workshop participants to further understand the curriculum content.

  1. Cognitive Triangle and Invisible Suitcase
  2. Feelings Thermometer and Inside Out Feelings
  3. My Somebody Worksheet
  4. Case Stories
  5. Josh Puzzle