Help improve the lives of children and adolescents.

Increase Your Skill Sets

The mission of the Certificate Program is to improve the lives of children and adolescents by developing the skills of professionals who work with them. The program examines the multiple challenges faced by children, adolescents, and families in everyday life. The program draws from cutting-edge knowledge about practice. Participants bring case material for discussion.

Post-master's program in trauma-informed practice helps chidren and adolescents.

For professionals who improve the lives of children and adolescents through psychosocial interventions, this program imparts the latest knowledge of clinical practice and increases skill sets. The program is designed for social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, school counselors, and others who have earned a master’s degree. The 90 CEU curriculum includes contemporary practice, theories, and intervention techniques.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Application

The Learning Experience

The weekly class meetings are dynamic and interactive. Experienced faculty make didactic presentations. Students work with faculty to research advanced practice approaches and to present their findings at the final class meeting. Students make case presentations and learn to draw on each other's expertise.
Topics covered include:

  • Interviewing skills with children and adolescents
  • Skills for engaging parents and families
  • Developmental approaches: infancy, toddlerhood, middle childhood, and adolescence
  • The impact of adult mental illness on parenting
  • The influence of race and culture, cultural competence
  • Children with mental illness: Depression, anxiety, pervasive developmental disorders, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, and reactive attachment disorder
  • Trauma and loss
  • Community interventions
  • Counseling boys and male adolescents
  • Domestic violence
  • Psychotropic medication
  • Substance abuse

Structure of the Program

Students may enter the Certificate Program in either January or September. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Brennan Center, 45 Island Pond Road. Meetings are held for fourteen weeks in each semester.

Program Options

Students may elect to enroll in the program for

  • Fall semester only
  • Spring semester only
  • Both fall and spring semesters
    (needed to earn the certificate)

Application Deadlines

  • Spring semester: January 21
  • Fall semester: September 1

Earning the Certificate

Students earn the Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice with Children and Adolescents once they have completed both semesters of work. Upon completion of the program, students also earn 90 continuing education units awarded by the Springfield College School of Social Work. Students may enroll in one semester at a time and are awarded continuing education units for the classes attended.


Applicants must possess a master’s degree in social work, nursing, mental health, school counseling, psychology, or a related field. Applicants must be currently working with children and/or adolescents.


  • $1,100 per semester
  • $30 Nonrefundable Application Fee


The faculty who teach in the program work actively with children, adolescents, and their families. Many of the faculty continue to work in practice settings that serve children and adolescents. Faculty who teach in the Certificate Program include:

James J. Canning, PhD

Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Specialist in child and adolescent development, autism, counseling interventions with children

Claudia M. Gold, MD

Pediatrician, Author
Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World through Your Child’s Eyes

Specialist in pediatric behavioral and medical interventions

Anthony Hill, EdD

Assistant Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Specialist in youth development, school social work, secondary trauma, community engagement

Efrosini Kokaliari, PhD

Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Specialist in trauma, adolescent self-harm

Lorna Little, MSW

Executive Director, St Agnes Family Center
Hartford, Connecticut

Specialist in counseling pregnant teens and young mothers

Walter J. Mullin, PhD

Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Specialist in child/adult mental health, family interventions, counseling approaches, suicide prevention

Paul A. Redstone, MD

Psychiatrist, Private Practice

Specialist in psychopharmacology

Cecilia Singh, PhD

Coordinator of Training, Outpatient Clinical Services/In-Home Clinical Programs, Yale University

Specialist in child psychological assessment, parent-child attachment

Joyce Taylor, PhD

Assistant Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Specialist in service systems in child welfare, children’s mental health, juvenile justice

Francine Vecchiolla, PhD

Dean and Professor, Springfield College School of Social Work

Consultant/collaborator on program development and curriculum design

Jan. 18 Semester opening: Case study: Review and looking ahead Dr. Mullin
Jan 25 Overwhelmed Parents: An Intervention Model for Helping Parents Change Dr. Mullin
Feb. 1 The impact of external stress on parenting Dr. Watson
Feb 8 Parenting and parental capacity Dr. Watson
Feb 15 Teen pregnancy and parenting Ms. Little
Feb 22 Coaching young parents in care Dr. Smith
March 1 Working with acute trauma Ms. Pearlman
March 8 Counseling child and teen victims of sexual abuse Ms. Pearlman
March 22 Ethnic life experiences and trauma Dr. Hill
March 29 Gender orientation and experiences of trauma Mr. Harrigan
April 5 Understanding mental disorders of childhood Dr. Mullin
April 12 Psychotropic Medication Dr. Daly
April 19 Disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders Ms. Sally Johnson Van Wright
CLOSING April 26 Final Project Presentation, Dinner Meeting, and Awards Dr. Mullin
Program faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Trauma-Informed Practice with Children and Adolescents?
    This post-master’s certificate program is a continuing education program at Springfield College School of Social Work. The program’s goal is to improve the lives of children and adolescents by developing the skills of professionals who offer psychosocial interventions. Content in the program is drawn from knowledge about contemporary practice and the theories that support it.
  • How often does it meet?
    The certificate program meets every Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for 14 weeks in two semesters (January to May and September to December). 
  • What topics are covered in the program?
    All of the topics covered in the program are intended to help the participants know up-to-date current practices. Topics may be presented in one or two week segments. Some examples of topics include Trauma Informed ApproachesChallenges in Working with Difficult Children and AdolescentsAutism: Clinical featuresClinical Approaches to Juvenile Justice, and Therapeutic Competencies for Special Youth Populations. All workshops are dynamic, interactive and rich with case discussion.
  • What type of learning experiences does the program offer?
    The program offers enrollees classroom experiences that are didactic and participatory. Faculty teach about specific content and then engage students in discussions about practice techniques. Enrollees work to develop expertise in a practice area that they each identify. Faculty assist students in this process. Students present their findings to the group at the end of the program.
  • Where do the classes meet?
    Classes are held at the Springfield College School of Social Work Brennan Center which is located on Island Pond Road in Springfield, Mass.
  • What do I get by attending?
    Participants who meet the attendance requirements receive a Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice with Children and Adolescents and 90 Continuing Education Units. This certificate is a useful for one’s personal professional and career development. Participants also have the opportunity to interact with faculty who are experts in their fields.
  • Am I qualified?
    All admitted students must possess a master’s degree in social work, nursing, mental health, school counseling, criminal justice, psychology or a related field. DCF also requires that all admitted students possess a license in his or her respective field.
  • How much does it cost?
    The tuition for the program is $2,200 for the entire program. The Department of Children and Families has developed a program for accepted students to cover the tuition for selected students to begin in September 2014. Students who submit an application are responsible to pay the $30 fee.
  • Who can answer additional questions?
    Questions about the details of the program can be directed to Walter Mullin at Springfield College School of Social Work, (413) 748-3062 or, or to Sophia Chin at the Department of Children and Families, Massachusetts Child Welfare Institute, extension 72052 or
Learn More About Springfield College School of Social Work