Culturally Relevant, Trauma-Informed Engagement Strategies for Child Welfare Workers: Moving Beyond Compliance to Engagement with Families Experiencing High Levels of Exposure to Trauma and Stress

  • Tricia StephensEmail author
  • Geetha Gopalan
  • Mary C. Acri
  • Melissa Bowman
  • Mary McKernan McKay


Child welfare affected parents interface with front-line child welfare caseworkers at critical times of enormous stress in their lives. Often facing extraordinary personal stress, with lives marked by significant trauma and the experience of poverty, these parents are also coping with the trauma and stress of being separated from their children. Front-line child welfare caseworkers are tasked with forging relationships with parents under these profoundly difficult circumstances. This chapter provides the front-line child welfare caseworker with practical skills for successfully engaging parents and families. Using a modified version of the 4Rs 2Ss Program, adapted to be both trauma-informed and culturally relevant, suggestions are made for effective intervention techniques and approaches that facilitate true engagement rather than simple compliance. Case examples and worker competencies are provided


Parents Child welfare Trauma-informed Culturally-relevant Caseworker 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tricia Stephens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Geetha Gopalan
    • 2
  • Mary C. Acri
    • 3
  • Melissa Bowman
    • 4
  • Mary McKernan McKay
    • 5
  1. 1.City University of New York, Hunter College – Silberman School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.c/o University of Maryland School of Social Work, University of Maryland School of Social WorkBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.New York University, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and ResearchTrumbullUSA
  4. 4.BrooklynUSA
  5. 5.Washington University, George Warren Brown School of Social WorkSt. LouisUSA

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