Trauma-Informed Approaches: Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice to Build Resilience in Children and Families

Nearly half of all U.S. children are exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as abuse, neglect, incarceration of a family member, substance use in the home, divorce, and witnessing domestic violence.

Potential long-term effects in adulthood include serious mental illness, health problems, unemployment, and addiction—particularly to opioids. Multiple factors influence a child’s resilience and exposure to trauma, and myriad systems interact with children and families. Community-driven, interdisciplinary, multisector approaches are needed to support the optimal development of children and youth.

This project brought together researchers, policymakers, stakeholders, and practitioners to share new research and identify opportunities for addressing ACEs. It increased understanding of the effects of trauma-informed approaches on systems, communities, children, and families.

The project aimed to improve outcomes for trauma-affected children and families by—

  • Highlighting the science of building resilience and the protective factors communities can provide for children and families
  • Gaining insights from federal and state programs, trauma experts, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to identify promising and successful trauma-informed models and approaches
  • Documenting common elements leading to positive impacts
  • Illuminating gaps and opportunities to inform future policy and research efforts

JBA conducted scans, literature reviews, and key informant discussions and hosted an expert convening to summarize promising practices and approaches. The findings were shared in briefs, papers, and presentations.


  • Erin Ingoldsby, Ph.D. Director

    Erin Ingoldsby has more than 25 years of experience in applied social science research, program evaluation, and evaluation technical assistance in diverse content...

  • Heidi Melz, Ph.D., M.S. Senior Research Associate

    Heidi Melz has 19 years of experience researching interventions that address child welfare issues and family structure, functioning, and well-being. She...

  • Allison Meisch, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate

    Allison Meisch is a developmental psychologist with more than 18 years of experience in quantitative and qualitative methods, program evaluation, applied...

  • Colleen Morrison, Ph.D. Research Associate

    Colleen Morrison has more than 10 years of experience in program evaluation and applied developmental research. Her areas of expertise include early...

  • Joelle Ruben, M.S.W. Senior Communications Associate
  • James P. DeSantis, Ph.D. Vice President


Education Development Center