Professional Certificate in Assessing Childhood Trauma

Course Overview

This course is designed to enable WA-based professionals 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. This course sits within a suite of programs that aim to enhance knowledge and skills across the sector in order to enhance outcomes for children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma.

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.

This Professional Certificate is the second of three Certificates designed as part of the PERCAN Project to support practitioners in community settings to develop their capacity (i.e. knowledge, skills, application of knowledge and skills) to provide trauma-specific therapeutic interventions to children who have experienced child abuse and neglect, with a focus on child sexual abuse.


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, 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)

Course Calendar and Communities of Practice (CoP) dates

Week Date (week beginning) Topic
1 July 26th Topic 1 Introduction to the Assessment process and Professional Practice in Assessment
2 August 2nd CoP 1 (Intro and establishing a CoP)
3 August 9th Topic 2 Gathering Assessment Information (including Initial Interviews)
4 August 16th CoP 2 (Interviews & thorough assessment)
5 August 23rd Topic 3 Assessment: Symptom Mapping and Tracking
6 August 30th CoP 3 (assessment tools & diagnosis discussion)
7 September 6th Topic 4 Formulation: Bringing all the Information Together
8 September 13th CoP 4 (practice formulation)
9 September 20th CoP 5 (present formulation to peers for assignment 1 part 2)
10 September 27th Topic 5 Self Harm and Suicide Risk Assessment and Management
11 October 4th Topic 6 Behavioural Risks and Risk to Child: Assessment and Management Planning
12 October 11th CoP 6 (Risk and Safety)


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 two formal assessments for this course and students must demonstrate competence in all assessment pieces to successfully complete the course.

Assignment 1: Case formulation

This assignment allows you to connect your learning in the course to your current professional practice, through a case formulation. A formulation is a summary of a client’s presentation, gained from a thorough assessment and your interpretation of this through a trauma-informed lens.

The case formulation is in two parts, each submitted separately.

  • In Part 1, you will gather information to inform your case formulation through a thorough assessment. Your assessment will be informed by a clinical 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.
  • In Part 2, you will integrate and synthesise the case information you have collected in Part 1 with data gathered through use of tools for symptom mapping and tracking, and then verbally present your formulation to your peers within your group Community of Practice session. 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.

All assessments are graded pass/ fail and successful completion of all assignments is required in order to complete the course.

How to apply

Applications have now closed. If you wish to be notified when applications open again, please email

Additional information

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 Microsoft Teams; and
  • have a current Working With Children Check, 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; and
  • have graduated from the Professional Certificate of Understanding Childhood Trauma.

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.

Prior to confirmation of enrolment, students will be required to provide evidence of a current Working with Children Check (WWCC) and relevant qualifications.