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Trauma Assessments

A comprehensive trauma assessment is an in-depth assessment of the impact of trauma a child has experienced, how the trauma impacts the relationship with the child's caregivers and the child's functioning, and recommendations for services or community supports for the child and family/caregivers to heal and be successful in the home setting.

The purpose of assessment is to obtain clinical recommendations to guide caseworkers in developing case plans to assist the child and family/caretaker with addressing identified trauma, behaviors, and diagnoses that meet clinical criteria. These assessments are not intended to provide answers to best interest decisions (such as permanency, parenting time or placement). Best interest decisions should be made by the caseworker based on a holistic review of the child's case and following supervisor discussion and support.

To determine if a child is eligible for a comprehensive trauma assessment, staff must utilize the appropriate Trauma Screening Checklist based on the age of the child, 0-5 (MDHHS-5719) or 6-18 (MDHHS-5720) years of age. The score of the Trauma Screening Checklist helps to determine if a referral for a Mental Health Assessment or a Comprehensive Trauma Assessment is necessary. Referral for Mental Health Assessments and/or Comprehensive Trauma Assessments are not intended as standard practice for every child.

The child must meet the following eligibility criteria to be referred for a comprehensive trauma assessment:

1.     The child or youth has a current open MDHHS foster care, children’s protective services (CPS), or MDHHS juvenile justice (JJ) case.  The current open MDHHS foster care, CPS, or JJ case must remain open until the comprehensive trauma assessment report is completed and sent to the worker, recommendations are reviewed with the family and plans are made for implementation, and the invoice is paid. 

NOTE: CPS investigations, Category III CPS cases, and prevention cases are not eligible for comprehensive trauma assessments.  To be eligible for a comprehensive trauma assessment, the CPS case must be open as a Category I or II. 

2.     The child must be ages 0-17.

Prior to referral for a comprehensive trauma assessment, any child less than the three years of age must have been referred to all of the following:

·       Medical professional/Pediatrician

·       Early On

·       CMH for Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health treatment services

NOTE: At least one of the professionals listed above must recommend a referral for a comprehensive trauma assessment.  Documentation of the decision to refer, including applicable reports, must be included with the MDHHS-5594, Comprehensive Trauma Assessment Referral/Invoice. 

3.     Residential placement is being considered for the child because of disrupted community placements due to the child’s behavior and/or functioning.

4.     The assessment is recommended by a mental health clinician or medical professional.

5.     The child or youth is in a residential placement and continues to struggle with functioning and behaviors despite treatment.

6.     The child received an 11+ on the Trauma Screening Checklist AND is not benefitting from current services. 

NOTE: If a completed Trauma Screening Checklist does not reach a score that the worker believes is indicative of an appropriate intervention, the worker should consult with their supervisor and the child’s team to determine if an escalation of intervention is appropriate.  

Please see FOM 802 for additional information.  If you have further questions or concerns regarding Comprehensive Trauma Assessments, please contact Erica Barrett at