Deadline: October 20, 2017

The editorial staff of Division 18’s (Psychologists in Public Service’s) APA journal Psychological Services would like to invite you to submit articles for a special issue of the journal Psychological Services focused on “Trauma-informed Care of Children and Families” that will be edited by Meghan L. Marsac, PhD, J.J. Cutuli, PhD and Melissa A. Alderfer, PhD.

Childhood trauma is an important public health issue. Each year, millions of children in the United States (US) are exposed to potentially traumatic events such as maltreatment (including physical and sexual abuse), loss, accidents, severe medical events, natural disasters, and exposure to domestic and community violence (Gerson & Rappaport, 2012; Roberts, Huang, Crusto & Kaufman, 2014).  Exposure to childhood adversity can have significant repercussions. Emotional, behavioral, cognitive, developmental, physical and interpersonal disturbances are common in the immediate aftermath of such events (Gerson & Rappart, 2012; Roberts et al., 2014) with about one third of children and adolescents developing enduring symptoms (Cohen et al., 2010).  Childhood adversity also has been linked to depression, substance use, and various cardiac, metabolic, immunological and gastrointestinal illnesses during adulthood (Felitti et al., 1998; Gerson & Rappaport, 2012; Kessler et al., 2010).

Given the prevalence of potentially traumatic events during childhood and the significant negative effects that these experiences can produce, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of trauma-informed care.  Although various definitions exist regarding trauma-informed care (Marsac et al., 2016), at a basic level, this approach is characterized by an appreciation of the possibility that a child and family may have experienced traumatic events, an understanding that those experiences may impact the way in which the child and family functions and reacts to new situations and challenges, and the incorporation of knowledge about trauma into the provision of care for the child and family (SAMHSA, 2015).

While various conceptual and theoretical papers have been written regarding trauma-informed care of children and families (e.g., Lucio & Nelson, 2016; Marsac et al., 2016), manuscripts reporting on the development, use, and effectiveness of specific trauma-informed care approaches or interventions are sorely needed.  This special issue is focused on research related to trauma-informed care of children and families.  Considering the nature of the journal, papers should be focused on the use of trauma-informed care with children and families in organized care settings such as community mental health settings, community health centers, schools, child guidance clinics, rehabilitation units, correctional settings, police departments, jails, prisons, courts, probation departments, Indian Health Services, special services departments, university clinics, training hospitals, local/state hospitals, and local government agencies. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies, as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses are all welcomed. Research with implications for underserved populations is strongly encouraged.

This special issue will be devoted to empirical papers reporting on the development, use, efficacy, effectiveness, dissemination and implementation of trauma-informed care for children and families including, but not limited to:

  • Screening for childhood adversity and traumatic stress symptoms in pediatric, child or family settings (e.g., schools, primary care)
  • Development and implementation of specific trauma-informed interventions
  • Provider and family knowledge of and interest in trauma-informed care approaches
  • Evaluation of trauma-informed care programs or components of care (e.g., pre-post designs, randomized controlled trials, comparative effectiveness trials)
  • Dissemination and uptake of trauma-informed care practices
  • Building, coordinating and evaluating consistency of trauma-informed care practices across systems/institutions
  • Measurement issues relevant to trauma-informed care practice or research

The deadline for receipt of papers for this special section is OCTOBER 20, 2017Please follow the Instructions to Authors information located on the Psychological Services website at: .  Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through the Manuscript Submission Web Portal as described on the journal’s website, here:

Please specify in your cover letter that the submission is intended for the special section on Trauma-informed Care and address your submission cover letter to Dr. Melissa A. Alderfer. 

All papers submitted will be initially screened by the editorial board. If evaluated as appropriate for the journal, papers will then be sent out for blind peer review.

For further questions related to this special section, please contact Dr. Alderfer at