Developmental Trauma and the Adopted Child

Many children moving into adoption have experienced some form of developmental trauma.  Understanding what the effects of early trauma are can help you as an adoptive parent.  What is developmental trauma, you ask?  It is defined as the result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment or other significant adverse experiences in the first three years of life. Developmental Trauma can arise from in utero stresses, parental separation, abuse, neglect, and other adverse experiences.  It can undermine healthy development, affecting the child’s readiness to learn, to make emotional attachments, the way a child views himself and the world, and consequently his/her behaviour.  There is an increasing awareness of the importance of trauma-informed schools and professional services to be better able to serve children who have experienced Developmental Trauma.

The Adoption Council of Ontario, parents, youth and several multi-sector professionals from across Ontario have joined together to form the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance (DTAA). With funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Alliance has formed as a collective to bring about transformative and systemic change to improve the long-term outcomes and overall well-being of children, youth and adults who have experienced Developmental Trauma.  The Alliance has launched a provincial campaign to raise awareness and understanding, provide training and advocate for services and support designed to help individuals heal from Developmental Trauma.

YOU ARE INVITED to attend one of the DTAA ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS.  They are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and are of specific interest to

o   Adoptive parents, foster parents, parents with legal custody and persons providing customary care

o   Individuals and families with lived experience of childhood and intergenerational trauma

o   Professionals working in adoption, child welfare

o   Educators

o   Health professionals

o   Child, youth and adult mental health professionals

o   Professionals working with children & youth

o   Youth and family justice professionals

o   Other social service professionals (addictions, shelters, welfare)


Four have already been held in North Bay, London, Ottawa and Barrie.

  • Toronto – Monday, November 12 – 7 to 9 pm
  • Thunder Bay – Wednesday, November 21 – 7 to 9 pm
  • Other dates TBA                

To register:

                                                                                                   — Patricia Fenton, MSW RSW

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