Brighter Futures: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Youth with good mental health develop skills and capacities that become the basis for strong communities. Toxic levels of stress and trauma negatively impact the architecture of a youth’s developing brain, which has lasting effects into adulthood. Youth in foster care face these challenges and many others, which contribute with significantly increased risk for poor educational attainment, substance abuse disorders, and future homelessness.

For Children’s Brighter Futures Initiative (BFI) grant (2016-2018) Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and adolescent-specific well-being assessment were integrated into Children’s child welfare case management program. TF-CBT is an evidence based intervention that promotes healing and resilience after trauma. By making the unspeakable speakable, TF-CBT works to eliminate the shame and physical symptoms associated with traumatic stress through education, gradual exposure, and healing self-talk.



Meghan Christian
Gabriel McGaughey
Jenni Scott
Luke Waldo


Brighter Futures Initiative through Wisconsin Department of Children and Families


Community Advocates Public Policy Institute

Department of Children and Families’ Office of Youth Services

All Child & Family Well-Being