Assessment of children and youth in child protective services out-of-home care: An overview of trauma measures.


Objective: Research confirms that many children and youth in child protective services (CPS) out-of-home care (OHC) have experienced multiple and often traumatic events that can lead to a variety of detrimental outcomes. Few CPS agencies have adopted standardized, trauma-focused assessment procedures, resulting in a gap in the provision of trauma-focused mental health services. The objective of this article is to propose a compendium of trauma-focused, evidence-based measures geared toward children and youth in OHC that can feasibly be incorporated into routine CPS practice. Method: Using a 4-stage search strategy, 9 measures designed to collect information on trauma exposure, trauma-related symptoms, and related behaviors were recommended based on desirable psychometric properties and practical considerations. Results: Although a plethora of measures exist to assess children and youth, a variety of measures geared toward the trauma-specific needs of children and youth in OHC are presented that demonstrate satisfactory psychometric properties and are considered feasible for implementation by CPS. Conclusion: This article fills a gap for children and youth in CPS OHC by proposing a compendium of measures suitable for a standardized, trauma-focused assessment procedure specifically aimed at this vulnerable population, which can serve as a catalyst for the development of specialized, trauma-focused services.