Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Peter Meagher


Wichita County, Texas experienced decreased academic performances of elementary level children in 24 out of 45 communities. Higher numbers of traumatic experiences increase a child's risk of not meeting developmental benchmarks. The purpose of this capstone project is to support the development of a trauma-informed capacity-building program. Ungar's resiliency theory was used to understand the factors related to building resilience in children to prevent trauma. Using action research, the researcher explored how developing program content may improve an agency's system readiness to deliver effective trauma-informed care. Data were collected from a focus group with local social workers. Content analysis was used to explore and organize the data. The study’s research questions are: (a) What capacity-building program content will help assess and improve an agency’s policy and procedures for entire system readiness in delivering effective trauma-informed care and help improve a client’s ability to develop resiliency? (b) What are the challenges or barriers to creating a trauma-informed capacity-building program and how may those challenges be overcome? Five primary themes emerged: the need to expose all community agencies to trauma-informed care; use of a universally accepted trauma-informed language, preventing re-traumatization of service recipients, use of Person-Centered Treatment; and encouraging complete agency buy-in with follow through. Those themes lay the foundation to create an action plan to deliver effective trauma-informed care in the community. By improving community agency’s response to the toxic effects of trauma, the overall health of children will be improved, and thus creating positive social change.