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Trauma-Informed Care:

Building a community of care for children, families, and providers


70 Percent

Adults in the US Have Experienced A Traumatic Event


90 Percent

Sexually abused children develop PTSD


77 Percent

Children exposed to a school shooting develop PTSD

ACGC’s Trauma Informed Services

Austin Child Guidance Center is one of the first agencies in Central Texas to become trauma-informed.  Trauma-informed agencies or systems of care go beyond just providing evidenced-based treatments for trauma. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines trauma informed care: “When a human service program takes the step to become trauma-informed, every part of its organization, management, and service delivery system is assessed and potentially modified to include a basic understanding of how trauma affects the life of an individual seeking services. Trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization.”

Through a year-long process, ACGC changed our systems of care, to reduce that chance of children and families becoming revictimized while seeking services at the center.  ACGC's services are provided to children and families with six values in mind: safety, trustworthiness, collaboration, choice, empowerment, and cultural inclusivity.  ACGC also provides universal screening for trauma, evidenced-based treatments, support for providers, and a safe and warm environment, so that families can begin the healing process.

Evidenced-based treatments for trauma: ACGC is one of the only organizations that offers certified trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is the most research supported treatment for trauma for children six and older. Additionally, clinicians are trained on interventions such as parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT).  Other treatments are offered at the center,  that focus specifically on the family's needs and based on their choice of intervention.

To bring trauma-informed practices to others in our community, Austin Child Guidance Center established the Trauma Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas (TICC) in 2013 with funding from St. David's Foundation. For more information about TICC or to visit the TICC website, please click here.  To learn more check out our mission and goals on our About page.


“People often use the word ‘trauma’ to refer to a traumatic event. A trauma is a scary, dangerous, or violent event that can happen to anyone. Not all dangerous or scary events are traumatic events, however. A traumatic event is a scary, dangerous, or violent event. An event can be traumatic when we face or witness an immediate threat to ourselves or to a loved one, often followed by serious injury or harm. We feel terror, helplessness, or horror at what we are experiencing and at our inability to stop it or protect ourselves or others from it.” - National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The National Council for Behavioral Health describes trauma as a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health problems. An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of human functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, and spiritual. Unfortunately, when it comes to trauma, issues are often ignored or denied. In healthcare, it is important to address trauma, otherwise harm is done or abuse is unintentionally recreated by the use of forced medication, seclusion, or restraints.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experiences.

Childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors are called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Almost two-thirds of study participants reported at least one ACE, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The outcomes of these childhood exposures resulted in both of physical health and social problems. The ACE Study also revealed that the economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalculable.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. The ACE study was pivotal in explaining the connection between some of the worst health and social problems in our nation resulting as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences.

Trauma-informed agencies or systems of care go beyond just providing evidenced-based treatments for trauma. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines TIC: “When a human service program takes the step to become trauma-informed, every part of its organization, management, and service delivery system is assessed and potentially modified to include a basic understanding of how trauma affects the life of an individual seeking services. Trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization.


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