Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Trauma Informed Care

Wellness & Recovery

Arizona is committed to ensuring trauma informed care becomes the standard for supporting children and families across Arizona. Through continued efforts and collaborative partnerships, Arizonais working to improve and better serve our most vulnerable youth and families through a trauma informed lens.

What is Trauma Informed Care (TIC)?

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of trauma on an individual throughout their lifespan. TIC emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional support for individuals and works to help trauma survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

Why is TIC important?

Almost everyone has experienced some form of trauma during their life, and no one is immune to the impact of trauma. Trauma affects individuals, families, and communities by disrupting healthy development, adversely affecting relationships, and contributing to mental health issues including substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Everyone pays the price when a community produces multi-generations of people with untreated trauma by an increase in crime, loss of wages, and threat to the stability of the family.

A recent survey by America's Health Rankings determined that over 30% of Arizona’s children, ages 0-17 years, have two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Based on these numbers and the scientific evidence concerning early childhood trauma, a strong response to prevent and reduce ACEs in Arizona’s youth population is a priority in order to increase the health and well-being of our youth. Increasing public awareness of ACEs has the potential to improve the health of all children in our state. Focusing on prevention can provide the support families need to prevent children from entering foster care. Improving the way we respond to our citizens through a trauma-informed approach can help mitigate the effects of toxic stress and break generational cycles driven by ACEs.

How is Arizona working to expand trauma informed care?

Developing trauma-informed systems around children is a primary means of reducing ACEs and the effects of childhood trauma. Through collaborative efforts and strategic partnership statewide, Arizona is actively working to raise awareness about TIC and increase programs that support trauma survivors and increase opportunities for improved health and success.

A trauma-informed approach or program includes each of the following elements:

  1. Realizing the prevalence of trauma
  2. Recognizing how trauma affects all individuals involved with the program, organization or system, including its own workforce
  3. Responding by putting this knowledge into practice
  4. Resisting re-traumatization.
Statewide Progress

Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS)

    • In just over 3 years, Arizona has moved from last place to first place in foster care reduction.
    • Since 2016, Arizona has seen a 25 percent reduction in the number of children in out-of-home care— and the leadership at DCS has been recognized for the dramatic improvements they’ve made.
    • Since 2016, Arizona has seen a 25% reduction in the number of children in out-of-home care
    • DCS has eliminated the over 16,000 case backlog
    • One of the first child welfare agencies in the nation to overhaul its child welfare operating system, and to implement a secure, cloud-based platform so 1,400 caseworkers could utilize tablets to serve families more efficiently. The mobile app has lessened the time employees spent on onerous paperwork so they can dedicate more time to working with children and families

Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS)

    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program: Designed to provide supplemental nutrition for families with young children. Serves pregnant and nursing moms and children under the age of five.
      • DHS has trained over 600 staff that work in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics statewide to provide knowledge and tools to support moms and pregnant women in improving their resiliency and increasing protective factors against Adverse Childhood Experiences for their children
      • DHS has provided training to over 800 home visiting professionals that provide in-home services to at-risk families on the role childhood trauma can play in adult disease and showed them ways to mitigate the impact of trauma and ACEs
    • Home Visit Program: Offers at-risk families a mechanism for ensuring families have social support, knowledge of available community resources, and ongoing health, developmental and safety education

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)

    • AHCCCS serves over 1.8 million members that live at/near poverty through acute and long term care programs. Specific populations with specialized health care needs include children with complex medical conditions (including CRS), children in foster care, and adults with serious mental illness.
    • AHCCCS has begun the transformation of health plans to whole health plans (AHCCCS Complete Care Plans) to the whole patient. Currently, children in DCS custody do not have this, but it is planned for 2020


    • GOYFF has partnered with DCS to connect families in crisis with churches that are able to provide need-based resources and safely keep kids at home
    • As of December 2018, CarePortal has had an economic impact exceeding $1.5M and it has served more than 4.3K Arizona children.