TotalChild® Strategy/Trauma Informed Care

A holistic approach
to addressing children’s needs

Four Oaks uses a holistic approach to addressing children’s needs, which has transformed the organization into a high performance, outcome-based culture.

Key Risk and
Protective Factors

Four Oaks’ TotalChild® approach addresses the key risk and protective factors across four domains:

Our objective is to achieve positive short and long-term outcomes for children and their families facing multiple challenges including homelessness, lack of parenting skills, poverty, under or unemployment and unstable housing. We follow the child and their families for many years to help support long-term success.

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If you’d like to connect with TotalChild®

TotalChild® and Family Care

When a family comes to us through TotalChild®, they may be facing a variety of challenges including under or un-employment, mental health challenges, parenting or child’s behavior issues, unstable housing, poverty and more. Through our holistic approach, we address the whole child and family to support them through their barriers to success.

In TotalChild®, we can

  • Educate parents and guardians about good parenting skills to help create a positive home environment.
  • Address mental health care issues including behavior and trauma.
  • Connect children and families with Four Oaks and community services to fill gaps.
  • Educate families about budgeting, household management and other life skills.
  • Help families establish stable, safe housing.
  • Assist adults in finding and maintaining stable employment that can support them and their families.
  • Collaborate with local school districts to create unique supports to meet the needs of struggling children.

Workforce Development

The second phase of TotalChild® focuses on youth from age 18 through 26 to help take them from poverty to paycheck. Our workforce development program addresses career readiness and placement skills including higher education and training, internships, job shadowing and more. We work on skills including budgeting, employment best practices, and more.

By partnering with community organizations and companies, we are able to provide real-life job shadowing and internship experiences, as well as equip the next generation of stable, contributing employees for the workforce.

Informed Care

Instead of asking a child, “What’s wrong with you?” we ask, “What happened to you?”

It’s a small, but significant shift in recognizing why a child is acting a certain way.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

This approach is called Trauma Informed Care and it looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Research has shown that children who face traumas such as abuse, neglect or witnessing domestic violence are much more likely to develop social, emotional and behavioral challenges. This trauma often follow children well into their adult lives. Adults who have experienced childhood trauma are more likely to develop difficulties with substance abuse, mental health, divorce, holding down a job, parenting, domestic violence and incarceration.

Four Oaks uses the Trauma Informed Care approach in all of our programs, allowing us to look beyond a child’s behavior to the deeper trauma that caused it.

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What is your ACE Score?

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are serious traumas that occur during childhood.

Childhood Trauma can include:


Trauma can also include many other circumstances such as witnessing an accident or crime, bullying, being homeless, discrimination, natural disasters and war. Trauma is experienced individually, but there are many things individuals, friends and families can do to help.

Experiencing an ACE doesn’t define us or predict our future.

Experiencing ACEs is not uncommon. 55% of adults report experiencing at least one ACE in their lifetimes and 1 in 5 adults report experiencing 4 or more. Experiencing an ACE doesn’t define us, but it can provide us with insight and understanding into some of the causes of child and adult social, emotional and health related issues.

By changing the question from “What is wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” we begin to understand our challenges, and find new ways to improve our lives and our children’s lives.

There are many are many resources available to learn more about ACEs. We encourage you to speak to your Four Oaks provider about ACE, or contact us to taking about beginning services.