While there is a distinction between screening tools and functional assessments, there is often an overlap in the use of both. Some tools are used for both screening and assessment, while in other cases, assessment tools are adapted for screening purposes. Regardless of how these tools are used, screening and assessing for trauma should take place in order to guide treatment planning.
To ensure that the treatment planning and service delivery processes are effective, it is important to ensure that screening and assessment processes are informing both case planning and service delivery. In their 2008 article, Linking Child Welfare and Mental Health Using Trauma-Informed Screening and Assessment Practices, Conradi, Wherry, and Kisiel lay the groundwork for addressing challenges associated with integrating trauma screenings into the day-to-day practice of child welfare practitioners.
From their review of existing trauma-focused assessment and treatment models, the following models have emerged as feasible tools.
The Transaction Model comes from Steve Spaccarelli’s research on the impact of child sexual abuse. This model assesses the child’s trauma experience from the circumstances of the abuse and neglect incident, and also from related factors, such as the process of the child welfare investigation and child factors such as coping styles. Further information on the Transactional Model can be found in Spaccarelli's 1994 article, Stress, appraisal, and coping in child sexual abuse: A theoretical and empirical review.
Trauma Assessment Pathway Model (TAP)
The Trauma Assessment Pathway Model (TAP) is designed to assess and treat children and adolescents between 2 and 18 years of age who have experienced any type of trauma. TAP incorporates assessment, triage (prioritizing of needs based on children’s risks and immediate needs), and essential components of trauma treatment into “clinical pathways.” Within the TAP model, “pathway” refers to a sequence that clinicians follow when performing assessments and triage and making clinical decisions. The components of these pathways are based on research on complex trauma and the current research on effective treatment modalities.
The TAP model has been increasingly and effectively used in the medical field to standardize the management of medical and mental ailments, improve care, and reduce unnecessary costs. For more information, visit the TAP training Web site (http://taptraining.net/).
Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Comprehensive Version
The "comprehensive" version of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) instrument is designed to gather and integrate information. It collects information on a range of domains regarding the child’s functioning and the care-giving system, and incorporates it into the child’s individualized care plan. As an integration tool, CANS Comprehensive integrates information gathered from multiple sources into one record. The integration process aims to increase communication across providers, guide service planning and delivery, and more effectively meet the needs of the children and families involved.
For more information on CANS Resources and Training Information, visit the Praed Foundation’s website at http://www.praedfoundation.org/index.html.