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Family Court Tool Kit: Trauma and Child Development

Moving toward a trauma-responsive, developmentally-informed court with a foundation in cutting-edge science

Trauma-related news

Understanding resilience in the wake of trauma and toxic stress. Click below for an insightful article from The New Yorker, "How People Learn to Become Resilient."

Click here for Red Flags of Trauma, a quick guide for judges, developed by Judge Lynn Tepper, Sixth Judicial Circuit.

What is this tool kit?

This tool kit contains compelling information, rooted in science, which aids in determining children's needs based on developmental milestones and the impact of trauma. 

Why use it?

The information and practices in this tool kit will improve judicial decision making and improve outcomes for children. The practices are in keeping with guiding principles from In re: Report of the Family Court Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 2001). Federal regulations, state statutes, Florida Supreme Court opinions, and a judicial canon support these practices and authorize trauma screening and treatment. Click here for citations. 

Who should use it?

Judges, magistrates, and hearing officers who preside over family court cases, as well as court partners, including but not limited to mediators, attorneys, parenting coordinators, case managers, juvenile probation officers, and clerks who handle family court cases. This includes most family court case types as specified by rule. In addition, judges hearing criminal cases and those in problem-solving courts (such as drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans courts) will also benefit from studying this tool kit.

When should it be used?

Cutting edge research in the area of brain development, attachment, and child trauma demands it.

How should it be used?

The tool kit is organized in the following way: it begins with a summary of the problem, offers a proposed solution, states the goal, and provides practical tools.

Read it, digest it, practice it, and present it for discussion at a multidisciplinary brown bag luncheon, model court workshop, or learning circle.

Continue to "The Problem" >