Fostering Futures

Developing a blueprint for translating scientific evidence into trauma-informed practices for child welfare systems statewide

Full Project Name:Fostering FuturesPrimary Community Organization:SET Ministry, Inc.Primary Academic Partner:Lynn Sheets, MD, PediatricsAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
January2013
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


A growing body of research has linked Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to increased risk of unhealthy behaviors throughout the lifespan, including smoking and alcohol use, chronic disease, impaired mental health, disability and premature death. Children involved in the child welfare system are exceptionally vulnerable and are known to have experiences multiple ACEs due to maltreatment and the resulting removal, separation, and placement by child protective services or law enforcement. Traditional modalities used to care fo, diagnose, and treat individuals who have endured child maltreatment and other ACEs are inadequate, and may actually induce trauma themselves.

Through this project, Fostering Futures aims to develop and a statewide, interdisciplinary approach, informed by three local communities and state policymakers, to integrate evidence about ACEs and the benefits of resiliency and trauma-informed care into state and local systems of care that impact Wisconsin children and families involved in the child welfare system.

Community partners:

Casey Family Programs, Fostering Hope Foundation, Fresh Start Family Services, Inc., Office of the First Lady of Wisconsin, SaintA, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Formed a pilot project in three representative Wisconsin communities to translate trauma-informed science into practice

• Promoted bi-directional learning among pilot community core teams, conducting shared learning sessions and integregating lessons learned into the Fostering Futures Blueprint

• Developed the Fostering Futures Blueprint to improve the health and care of children at risk for experiencing trauma/ACEs, including content to support best clinical practices, promising interventions, case studies, and models of how to operationalize trauma-informed care

• Educated child welfare consumers and community stakeholders about ACEs and trauma-informed care, developing a marketing plan template and public awareness campaign toolkit as well as educational and training opportunities for each pilot community

• Leverage approximately 3,632 in-kind hours from partners

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