Children do not grow and develop in isolation, but rather, they depend on the caregivers who are available to love and support them. That is why family-induced childhood trauma can have such profound effects — the adult figures who are inflicting harm on a child are the caregivers who should be the most instrumental in fostering healthy development in their child. When children must be placed in foster care for their safety and well-being, this removal only further fractures family units. While the child welfare system is changing to focus on prevention and family preservation, such as with the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act, further work must be done to strengthen families before family-induced trauma can occur.
Strengthening families matters. Research demonstrates that positive childhood experiences are critical to healthy development. Furthermore, adult figures who provide safe, stable, and nurturing relationships for children, while facilitating positive experiences with them, are instrumental in preventing childhood trauma. Our current system is very reactive in dealing with the repercussions of broken family dynamics. However, in order to prevent family-induced trauma, we must focus on strengthening the family unit.