Social-Emotional Screening Protocol Implementation: A Trauma-Informed Response for Young Children in Child Welfare

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The Ohio State University

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Adverse childhood experiences in young children result in negative outcomes as trauma affects brain development. Within child welfare, early recognition of delayed social-emotional skills and treatment referral is essential in reducing the effects of trauma. This quality improvement pilot project implemented an evidence-based, social-emotional screening protocol utilizing the ASQ:SE-2 screening tool for very young children placed in out-of-home care through the county's child welfare system. Findings showed significant improvement in identification of children less than three years old with social-emotional-concerns (p < .0001), as well as, significant improvement in referral of those children positively identified (p = 0.0130). Ongoing utilization of the protocol was recommended as it demonstrated improved identification and referral for young children in child welfare with social-emotional concerns that were potentially trauma-related. Further collaboration between child protective services, pediatric medical systems, and pediatric mental health systems is needed to facilitate trauma-informed care for children in child welfare.



Childhood Trauma, Child Welfare, Social-Emotional Health, Pediatric Mental Health, Foster Care