Judge Darlene Byrne, of the 126th Civil District Court in Travis County, and the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission presented its child welfare system report at the Texas Law Center in Austin on February 8.

The report, Building a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System: A Blueprint, is a roadmap to better serving Texas children and families within the system by viewing them through a trauma-informed lens. It serves as a framework for creating such a child welfare system statewide, and includes short-term and long-term guiding principles and strategies.

The report is the result of an 18-month collaboration of more than 100 professionals representing multiple systems and perspectives on helping children and families overcome trauma. They make up the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care, led by Judge Byrne and charged with developing strategies for the report.

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration defines trauma as the result of “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” Children and youth who experience abuse or neglect are vulnerable to trauma, and suffer an adverse impact to their well-being as well as their interpersonal relationships.

Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Eva Guzman championed Blueprint and its statewide collaborative effort, writing in their opening letter in the report:

“The critical guidance provided in this Blueprint once again establishes Texas as a leader in charting a course to bring meaningful change to family and youth-serving systems that are immense, and quite often, incredibly complex … The opportunity for transformation is before us and we must embrace it. The future of Texas depends on it.”

For more information, go to texaschildrenscomission.gov.