Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1480–1487 | Cite as

Outpatient Clinic Identification of Trauma Symptoms in Children in Foster Care

  • Heather C. ForkeyEmail author
  • Wynne Morgan
  • Kimberly Schwartz
  • Linda Sagor
Original Paper


As understanding of the impact of trauma on children has grown, there has been increasing interest in the use of screening the medical setting to identify which children at risk may be symptomatic. This study was undertaken to determine whether the use of a trauma assessment tool to screen for trauma symptoms in the setting of a foster care clinic was feasible and more sensitive than non-standardized approaches in the context of outpatient primary care. Using a chart review of trauma symptom identification before and after the implementation of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSC-C) and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSC-YC), validated trauma assessment tools, we looked at the feasibility of use of this tool and likelihood of trauma symptom identification. 73 % (n = 204) of eligible patients had a trauma screening tool in the medical record following the introduction of the use of the TSC. Detection of trauma symptoms was higher in the screening period than in the baseline period for the entire population (78 vs. 46 %, p < 0.0001), and trauma symptoms were identified with more specificity following the introduction of, and likely due to, formal trauma screening. However, there were limitations as to feasibility in the outpatient medical clinic. In conclusion, the use of the TSC-C and TSC-YC in the setting of an outpatient foster care evaluation clinic increased rates and precision of identification of trauma symptoms, but had limitations to its feasibility of use in the outpatient clinic setting.


Foster care Trauma Toxic stress 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather C. Forkey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wynne Morgan
    • 2
  • Kimberly Schwartz
    • 3
  • Linda Sagor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUMass Memorial Health CareWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUMass Memorial Health CareWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsBoston Medical CenterBostonUSA

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