Our Work

Child Trauma Screen


Many children suffer from trauma in silence and alone. Screening is a way to identify children that are experiencing high levels of distress and may need additional support to overcome trauma exposure. Screening is also important to facilitate discussions with youth and caregivers about trauma, to provide factual information about traumatic stress, and to offer a range of resources to families, including evidence-based treatment when indicated.

CHDI joined with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and Yale to develop a brief trauma screening measure for children called the Child Trauma Screen (CTS; formerly called the Connecticut Trauma Screen)

The Child Trauma Screen (CTS)

The CTS is being used by behavioral health providers, pediatricians, school staff, child welfare workers, and juvenile justice staff to identify children who may be suffering from trauma exposure and need more comprehensive assessment or treatment.

The CTS is:

  1. Brief (10 items)
  2. Free to use
  3. Based on research and evidence
  4. Available for children age 6-17 (a version for children 3 to 6 is under development)
  5. Intended for use by intake staff, clinicians, child welfare workers, juvenile probation officers, pediatric providers, school personnel, case managers, care coordinators, or other professionals interesting in screening children for trauma.

The CTS is NOT a comprehensive screening tool or a clinical assessment, and does not screen for all types of trauma exposure or all traumatic stress reactions. Those using it should be trained in child trauma and screening, including managing disclosures and requirements for mandated reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect.


The CTS is supported by three peer-reviewed studies that indicate that the CTS is reliable and has good to excellent psychometric properties as a brief screen. Cut points maximizing sensitivity and specificity are available.  Additional details are in the CTS Information & FAQ below, and copies of the CTS forms may be downloaded at the link below.

  • Lang, J. M., Connell, C. M., & Macary, S. (2021). Validating the Child Trauma Screen Among a Cross-Sectional Sample of Youth and Caregivers in Pediatric Primary Care. Clinical Pediatrics, 60(4–5), 252–258.  (View Abstract)
  • Lang, J. M., & Connell, C. M. (2018). The Child Trauma Screen: A Follow-up Validation. Journal of Traumatic Stress. doi:10.1002/jts.22310   (View Abstract
  • Lang, J. M., & Connell, C. M. (2017). Development and Validation of a Brief Trauma Screening Measure for Children: The Child Trauma Screen. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(3), 390-398. doi:10.1037/tra0000235    (View Abstract)

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Additional Resources 

For more information about the CTS, please contact Jason M. Lang, Ph.D. (jlang@chdi.org) and/or Christian M. Connell, Ph.D. (cmc128@psu.edu).

CTS development was funded in part through the Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, Grant #90CO1069.

Jason Lang, Ph.D - Vice President for Mental Health Initiatives