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Trauma-Informed Care: Working with the Family Court System

Trauma-Informed Care: Working in the Family Court System

This course is part of the Online Trauma-Informed Organization Certificate Program: Basics for All Staff that was created by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC). Visit the certificate program webpage at www.socialwork.buffalo.edu/conted/otioc

Course Length: The course time needed is based on the amount of time needed to watch the course videos. There may also be readings provided.

Fulfills Certificate Program Requirement: __ Foundation Hours _X__ Elective Hours

Course Description:

This online course offers the training in a video format. All course handouts can be

viewed online, saved to your computer or printed.

The course offers a foundation of information regarding implementation of Trauma-Informed Care in the Family Court System. This course is for non-clinical professions including judges, lawyers, advocates, and other social work or human service professionals and volunteers who interface with family court system. Benefits of implementing a trauma-informed approach in the family court system is to improve the symptomology for children and adolescents, and to decrease the frequency of re-traumatization for all involved including professionals. The benefits are not limited to this; rather they far exceed and provide a great amount of support and empowerment to all involved.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize how trauma plays a role in children and adolescent’s behavior and mental health;
  • Explain the implications that trauma has on children, adolescents, families, and professionals involved in the family court system;
  • Identify ways the family court system can benefit from implementing trauma-informed principles and approaches;
  • Identify specific trauma-informed practices and approaches that are utilized with children and adolescents;

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction to trauma-informed care in the family court system
  2. Trauma and its implication and prevalence with children and adolescents
  3. Common practices in the family court system that retraumatize children, adolescents, families, and professionals
  4. Self-care for family court system staff

Handouts:  If it makes it easier for you to follow the course videos and take notes, we recommend you print your handouts from the Materials section and have them available as you watch the video modules. PowerPoint’s and other handouts are in the Materials tab of the course. They can be saved to your computer or printed.

Infographic: view and print the free infographic on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care Infographic at http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/social-research/institutes-centers/institute-on-trauma-and-trauma-informed-care/about-us/trauma-informed-care-infographic.html

Recommended Reading Material:

Target Audience: This course is appropriate for all social work and other human service professionals and volunteers within family court system  as well as legal professionals including judges, lawyers, paralegals, etc. that are in need of foundational information on trauma and trauma-informed care. Courses in the certificate program are suitable for all levels of professionals.

Course Availability: You have unlimited access to the course after purchase.

ADA accommodations: If you require supports for your ADA needs in the United States, please contact us in advance by email at sw-ce@buffalo.edu or phone at 716-829-5841.

Customer service: We are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. Please contact us by email at sw-ce@buffalo.edu or phone at 716-829-5841.

Course Completion:

  • Use the Certificate tab in your course site to take course evaluation and quiz. Based on best continuing education practice, quizzes are included to verify your acquisition of knowledge. A score of 80% is needed to pass. You may retake the quiz if you do not achieve a passing score the first time.
  • Certificate of Completion: Upon successful completion of the quiz, you will be able to print your Certificate of Completion with CEUs.

CEUs: The NYSED LMSW and LCSW contact hours listed on the Credit tab are included as part of your course fee and will print out on your certificate of completion.

Frameable Certificate of Completion for the Online Trauma-Informed Organization Certificate Program: Basics for All Staff: If you are taking the entire certificate program and you would like to receive a frameable certificate of completion, please email us at sw-ce@buffalo.edu when you complete the program requirements. There is an application with a $25 processing and records fee. Upon receipt of this, we will mail you a certificate of completion. Note: If you are an organization and you are having staff watch courses as a group, you may contact us for pricing on individual certificates for your employees: sw-ce@buffalo.edu or 716-829-5847.


Bernadette M. Hoppe, M.A., J.D., M.P.H.

Bernadette Hoppe became an attorney after working for 20 years in the arenas of reproductive health, perinatal health and HIV/AIDS.  Her daily practice is in family law, representing parents, children and relatives in custody/visitation, abuse/neglect, family offenses, divorces, child support and related proceedings. She is on the Assigned Counsel Panel of the Erie County Bar Association in Buffalo, NY, representing poor clients who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. She is frequently appointed as Attorney for the Child in custody/visitation, PINS/JD and abuse/neglect proceedings.

Ms. Hoppe participates in the Court Improvement Project of the Erie County Family Court, which addresses strategies to improve the outcomes of families in the child welfare system. She is a co-chair of the Erie County Bar Association’s Family Court Practice & Procedures Committee, a member of the Matrimonial Law Committee, the Women’s Bar Association of NY and the Women Lawyers of WNY. She provides mediation in matters involving abuse and neglect.


Ms. Hoppe serves as Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors of the National Perinatal Association. She serves on the Board of Directors for numerous other community organizations, including Neighborhood Legal Services. She is a frequent speaker on issues including reproductive and perinatal health, legal issues affecting adolescents, and various aspects of the child welfare system. She has been honored by many organizations, including Volunteers Project Divorce Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013, the Assigned Counsel Program Family Law Attorney of the Year in 2014, and Women Lawyers of Western New York Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2014.


Ms. Hoppe holds a M.A. in Women’s Studies, a J.D. with a concentration in health law, and a Master’s in Public Health, all from the University at Buffalo. She is on faculty at the University at Buffalo Law School and also taught in the Department of Community Health Professions at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, and the Women’s Studies Department at the University at Buffalo, and in the Paralegal Studies Program at Daemen College.



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