Professional Certificate in Assessing Childhood Trauma

Course Overview

The Professional Certificate in Assessing Childhood Trauma is the second of three certificates designed as part o the PERCAN project to support WA-based practitioners in community settings to develop their capacity (i.e. knowledge, skills, application of knowledge and skills) to provide trauma-specific theraputic interventions to, and enhance outcomes for, children who have experienced child abuse and neglect, with a focus on child sexual abuse.

Specifically, this course is designed to enable professionas working with children and young people who have experienced abuse and potential trauma to undertake trauma-informed assessment and to build knowledge and skills in formulation, risk assessment and safety management.

You will build on your understanding of childhood abuse and the impacts of trauma on children’s development and functioning and develop practical skills in trauma-informed assessment.

Course Objectives:  

  1. Assemble the components of a thorough assessment with children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma, including the initial interview, selection and application of appropriate assessment tools, and integration of information from multiple sources in multiple formats.
  2. Construct and present a trauma-informed case formulation based on a client assessment.
  3. Prepare a risk assessment and safety plan for children who have experienced abuse and potential trauma.
  4. Apply trauma-informed principles of practice.
  5. Demonstrate a developing understanding of the diverse cultural contexts of trauma and what enacting cultural safety in assessment entails

You will be encouraged to extend your understanding of and respect for, the diverse cultural contexts in which trauma impacts occur and build your awareness of how the impacts of trauma are contextually nuanced, understood and discussed. You will also be exposed to information regarding different forms of risk for children and young people who have experienced trauma from abuse, and gain knowledge and skills to assess and mitigate some of these risks to the child and to others. Through a community of practice, you will be supported to explore these concepts in depth with relevant case examples, connect your learning directly to your practice, and implement reflective practice skills within a peer supervision model.

Course Structure

The total time commitment expected for this course is 115 hours. The course will run over a 12-week period and will include independent study, online learning activities, written assessments and fortnightly Community of Practice sessions, facilitated online by child trauma specialists. Specifically, the Course involves:

  • Online Community of Practice Workshops (six sessions; 2 hours per fortnight)
  • Self-paced online learning activities (approximately 8 hours per fortnight)
  • Self-directed learning including reflection on practice and assessment preparation (approximately 8 hours per fortnight)

Communities of Practice attendance is not compulsory, however, is highly recommended to enhance your learning experience in the course.

2022 Course Calendar and Communities of Practice (CoP) dates

Intake 1: Commences Monday 11 April 2022, concludes Friday 1 July 2022.
Intake 2: Commences Monday 2 May 2022, concludes Friday 22 July 2022.
Intake 3: Commences Monday 5 September 2022, concludes Friday 25 November 2022.

Week 1 – Topic 1: The Assessment Process and the referral stage
Week 2 – CoP 1 (Intro and establishing a CoP)
Week 3 – Topic 2; Gathering Assessment Information (including Initial Interviews)
Week 4 – CoP 2 (Interviews & thorough assessment)
Week 5 – Topic 3; Assessment: Symptom Mapping and Tracking
Week 6 – CoP 3 (Assessment tools & diagnosis discussion)
Week 7 -Topic 4; Case Formulation
Week 8 – CoP 4 (Formulation, including practice formulation for assignment 1.2)
Week 9 – Topic 5; Assessment of Self Harm and Suicide Risk
Week 10 – CoP 5 (Self harm and suicide risk)
Week 11 -Topic 6; Assessment of additional risks for children and young people
Week 12 – CoP 6 (Assessing and safety planning of additional risks)


Details of assessment submission and return are listed under each assessment task. Assessment tasks will be returned to you within two weeks of submission.

There are three formal assessments for this course and students must demonstrate competence in all assessment pieces to successfully complete the course. All assessments are graded pass / fail and successful completion of all assignments is required in order to complete the course.

Assignment 1: Conducting a thorough Assessment

This assignment allows you to connect your learning in the course to your current professional practice, through completion of a thorough assessment with a real client.

For Assignment 1.1, you will gather information to inform your case formulation of a real child or young person through a thorough assessment. Your assessment will be informed by an initial interview with the child/their caregiver, as well as drawing upon information from multiple sources in multiple formats that help to provide a better understanding of the client and their presenting problems, through a trauma-informed lens. You will be provided an initial assessment template to complete your assessment on.

You are highly encouraged to use a real (de-identified) client from your work setting for this assignment, however there is a case study client available for those students unable to use a real client.

Assignment 1.2: Case Formulation

For assignment 1.2, you will integrate and synthesise the information you have collected in Part 1 with data gathered through use of tools for symptom mapping and tracking, to create a case formulation. You will have the opportunity to verbally present your formulation to your peers within your group Community of Practice session and gather feedback prior to submitting a written case formulation for marking. A clear trauma-informed approach to formulation will assist in understanding your client’s unique difficulties and creating a treatment plan to ensure better outcomes for young people who have experienced abuse and neglect. Through sharing within the Community of Practice this assignment also provides the opportunity to discuss and reflect upon case formulations within a small peer group setting, further enhancing your knowledge and skills in relation to trauma-informed case formulations.

Assignment 2: Risk Assessment and Safety Plan

For this assignment you will be provided with a case-study and will need to utilise the information contained in the case study to complete a brief risk assessment template and prepare a safety plan for the client.

How to apply

Applications are now closed for the final intake of this course.

Please email if you have any questions.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to meet the following criteria. You will:

  • be a Western Australian resident
  • be over 18 years of age, and have access to a computer, internet and appropriate video conferencing equipment. Community of Practice seminars will operate via Zoom
  • have a current Working With Children Check, or National Police Clearance (valid within 12 months) or equivalent (e.g WA Police ID);
  • currently work (or have recent prior experience) in a role with clients who have experienced child abuse or neglect and potential trauma;
  • have graduated from the Professional Certificate of Understanding Childhood Trauma.

In addition, you must have one of the following:

  • an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in education, youth work, welfare, social work, psychology, social science or equivalent; or
  • an Advanced Diploma or Diploma qualification in community services, youth work, nursing or welfare; or
  • recent experience (a minimum of 2 years full time or equivalent) working in a community sector organisation or relevant equivalent, in a role involving self-directed application of knowledge, exercise of judgement and decision making responsibilities, working with children, young people and/or families.