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Historical Trauma

Historical trauma should also be considered. Historical trauma is the cumulative exposure to traumatic events that not only affect the individual exposed, but continue to affect subsequent generations.


  • Legacy of slavery among African Americans
  • Impact of massacres, removal from homelands, and forced boarding school placements for American Indians and Alaskan Natives

Historical trauma can increase the impact of present-day trauma for a family in the child welfare system especially when actions like removal of children serve as triggers or reminders of the historical trauma for parents and family members.