Recommending Evidence-based Interventions for Young Children and their Families

Recommending Evidence-based Interventions for Young Children and their Families

When considering therapeutic intervention for young children and their families affected by trauma, there are interventions that have an established evidence-base. These interventions have been listed by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), indicating the treatment developer, the intended age group, the level of evidence, and a brief description of the focus and design of the intervention. Below is an alphabetical list of those evidence-based interventions that are designated as appropriate for young children — birth through 5 — and their families or caregivers. Detailed fact sheets are available for each intervention at, except for Preschool PTSD Treatment which is an emerging promising practice that post-dates the NCTSN document. Many communities are building their capacity to provide services to young children and their families through these interventions.

Please note: According to NCTSN: The Level of Evidence is based upon published, peer-reviewed data (provided by developers as of 17 February 2005) using the accompanying treatment classification criteria utilized by the “Office of Victims of Crime Guidelines for the Psychosocial Treatment of Intra-familial Child Physical and Sexual Abuse.”

Empirically Supported Treatments and
Promising Practices Relevant to Young Children and Their Families

Treatment & Developer Site Ages Level of Evidence Description
Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (ARC): A Common-Sense Framework for Intervention with Complexly Traumatized Youth The Trauma Center Allston, MA All ages Promising and Acceptable Trauma symptoms
attachment(s), regulatory capacity, competency, and systems of care implemented in school, community, or clinic settings
Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) Early Trauma Treatment Network San Francisco, CA 0-6 and caregivers Well Supported and Efficacious parent child relationship
child behavior problems child PTSD symptoms,
symptoms of anxious attachment,
maternal PTSD Clinic or home setting
Combined Parent Child Cognitive-Behavioral Approach for Children and Families At-Risk for Child Physical Abuse NJCARES Institute UMDNJ-SOM Stratford, NJ 4-17 and caregivers Supported and Acceptable PTSD, depression, abuse-related attributions, & externalizing behavior problems in children.
Parental anger, behavior management skills, parent to child violence, & parent-child relationship.
COPE-Community Outreach Program National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center Charleston, SC 4-18 and caregivers Supported and Acceptable Trauma symptoms TF-CBT, PCIT framework + Case management Applied in home, school based settings
Forensically Sensitive Therapy National Children’s Advocacy Center Huntsville, AL 4-17 Promising and Acceptable Trauma symptoms sexual abused individual treatment
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Sheila Eyberg, PhD, University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-12 Supported and Probably Efficacious parenting skills
parent child relationship
child externalizing behaviors
parent to child physical abuse
Preschool PTSD Treatment (PPT) Michael Scheeringa, MD Tulane University New Orleans, LA 3-6 In Development, Promising (Preliminary findings) child trauma symptoms: depression, separation anxiety, oppositional defiant behavior
parent depression

Excerpted and adapted from, Empirically Supported Treatments and Promising Practices, Retrieved August 9, 2010 from and personal communication with Scheeringa, M, 2010)

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.