Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 167-184

First online:

Development and Evaluation of the Trauma-Informed System Change Instrument: Factorial Validity and Implications for Use

  • Margaret M. RichardsonAffiliated withWestern Michigan University
  • , Chris L. S. CorynAffiliated withThe Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University Email author 
  • , James HenryAffiliated withWestern Michigan University
  • , Connie Black-PondAffiliated withWestern Michigan University
  • , Yvonne UnrauAffiliated withWestern Michigan University

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In this paper, we present the process of developing and evaluating an instrument designed to measure the extent to which a complex community system has changed as a result of a community initiative, and for purposes of this research, doing this within the content area of developing local trauma-informed child welfare systems in specific communities in Michigan. The instrument was designed for the Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center’s (CTAC) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-funded initiative to bring a trauma-informed perspective to professionals working with children in child welfare. The Trauma Informed System Change Instrument was developed with the input of experts in trauma-informed system change. Two parts of the instrument were analyzed separately using confirmatory factor analysis. A two factor model was fit for Community Characteristics and a three factor model for Individual Characteristics. Although adequate factorial validity was obtained for the instrument, specific items on the instrument that were problematic in fitting the model were identified, and suggestions for revising the instrument for improved functionality are offered, as are other potential uses of the instrument.


Child welfare Trauma System change Instrument Validity