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Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention

The CFTSI is a brief (5‐8 session), evidence‐based early intervention for children 7 to 18 years old, young children ages 3-6 and children in foster care, that reduces traumatic stress reactions and the onset of PTSD. CFTSI is implemented within 30-45 days following a traumatic event or the disclosure of physical or sexual abuse. CFTSI is used successfully with children with extensive trauma histories. In addition, CFTSI can act as a seamless introduction to longer‐term treatment and other mental health interventions when necessary.

The goal of CFTSI is to decrease post-traumatic stress reactions and onset of PTSD by increasing communication and family support. As an evidence‐based early intervention, CFTSI fills the gap between standardized acute interventions and evidence‐based, longer‐term treatments required to deal with enduring posttraumatic reactions.

A randomized controlled trial completed at Yale in 2009 found that Children receiving CFTSI:

  • Were 65% less likely than comparison youth to meet criteria for full PTSD at three month follow-up
  • Were 73% less likely than comparison youth to meet combined criteria for partial and full PTSD at the three-month follow-up

Program evaluation conducted on CFTSI cases completed at the four Safe Horizon Child Advocacy Centers in New York City consistently shows comparable reduction in symptoms.

CFTSI Site Sustainability and Evaluation System (CS^3)

The CFTSI team believes strongly that planning for sustainability involves gathering and learning from metrics. The CFTSI team is dedicated to supporting agencies trained in CFTSI, using metrics to help them integrate and sustain CFTSI within their menu of services.

Agencies that are trained in CFTSI are invited to participate in the CFTSI Site Sustainability System (CS3), a multiple purpose data management system that facilitates data collection, analysis, reporting and usage in order to provide immediate, ongoing clinical feedback.

The mechanism through which the project will become operational is the CFTSI Site Sustainability System (CS3). REDCap was chosen as the CS3 platform due to the fact that clinicians can reach the database from multiple sites and institutions and it is very user-friendly. REDCap is a secure web application designed exclusively to support data capture.

Through CS3

  • CFTSI clinicians gain access to real-time scoring of assessments and ongoing analyses of client outcomes
  • Supervisors are able to track the trajectory of the implementation and adherence to the model
  • Agency Leaders have access to treatment outcome data vital to increasing the investment of stakeholders within and outside the agency
  • All agencies participate in building an evidence base through and Open Trial


The YCTSR offers training to agencies interested in adding the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention to their menu of services. CFTSI training participants are masters-level therapists working in settings which serve children ages 7-18 in the immediate aftermath (30-45 days) of a potentially traumatic event or disclosure of physical or sexual abuse. To learn more about whether CFTSI might be a good match for your agency, we invite you to review the CFTSI Brochure for Interested Agencies, and complete the Peritraumatic Case Tally Sheet.