Promoting hope, success, and resilience in the lives of children and youth.

Our model utilizes a Trauma Informed Care (TIC) positive youth development framework to assess and transform how programs, agencies, organizations and communities respond to those who have experienced trauma.

This model examines the experience of a child, youth and family from entry to exit to transform principles, policies, practices, and training that promotes:

  • Recognition of the presence of trauma
  • Acknowledgement of the role trauma has played
  • Creation of a healing environment that embraces the principles of safety, trust, collaboration, choice and empowerment
  • The potential every child and youth possesses to succeed
  • Addresses the trauma experienced by first responders and staff

NCFIE works with communities to implement a sustainable TIC PYD approach that is guided by a cross sector Steering Committee, includes an annual Youth Summit with successful young adults as Keynote Speakers, system wide training, and TIC principles embedded into all policies and practices.

Introduction and Overview

In October of 2012, the NCFIE and Brevard Family Partnership embarked on the development of a comprehensive cross system transformation project which entailed establishing a framework for the incorporation of trauma informed care across the community of practice. The goal of this transformative initiative was to develop and foster broad community awareness and knowledge across sectors that may intersect with individuals suffering from trauma in the community to raise awareness of the impact of trauma on children and families; and upon those who serve and care for them.

The premise of this approach holds that positive youth development is the outcome of a trauma informed system of care and to improve the quality of life for youth in, and aging out of foster care, systems of care and communities need to develop an understanding of the empirical evidence supporting TIC and the proven strategies to mitigate risk and prevent re-traumatization at any touch point an individual may be encountered.

The National Center of Innovation and Excellence is committed to the establishment of community wide cross sector trauma informed systems of care. To that end, it is our goal to design and provide education, training and technical assistance to agencies that serve children, youth and families who have experienced trauma.

What is a Trauma Informed Care System?

A trauma-informed approach refers to how a program, agency, organization, or community thinks about and responds to those who have experienced or may be at risk for experiencing trauma; it refers to a change in the organizational culture. In this approach, all components of the organization incorporate a thorough understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma, the role that trauma plays, and the complex and varied paths in which people recover and heal from trauma. A trauma-informed approach is designed to avoid re-traumatizing those who seek assistance, to focus on “safety first” and a commitment to “do no harm,” and to facilitate participation and meaningful involvement of consumers and families, and trauma survivors in the planning of services and programs. It also requires, to the extent possible, closely knit collaborative relationships with other public sector service systems (Harris and Fallot, 2001).

A trauma-informed approach incorporates three key 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; and (3) responding by putting this knowledge into practice.

A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for healing; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in staff, clients, and others involved with the system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and settings.

Trauma-informed care is an evidenced based approach and a paradigm shift from one that asks, “What’s wrong with you?” to one that asks, “What has happened to you?”

A trauma informed system also understands the impact working with victims of trauma has on responders and service providers. 

Mission and Vision

It is the mission of NCFIE through its Trauma Informed Care/Positive Youth Development initiative to transform local systems of care into a trauma informed community of practice.


  • To achieve positive youth development as an outcome of being trauma informed
  • To lessen the impact of trauma upon children and youth
  • To promote resilience, sustainability and the health and well-being of children and youth
  • To equip cross sector partners to identify trauma indicators when encountering individuals who suffer from trauma
  • To equip cross sector partners on effective ways to respond to trauma
  • To impart hope and instill motivation for successful living and the achievement of life dreams