Childhood trauma and the brain

The UK Trauma Council has created a guide for parents and carers sharing the latest research looking at how changes in the brain following childhood trauma can affect a child’s social world.

The guide explains how the social world – relationships with others – is the key to everyone’s mental health. Children who have experienced complex trauma are more likely to grow up in a more stressful and lonelier social world. Experience of trauma can make it harder for children to build the secure and trusted relationships that they need to grow and thrive. These children are more likely to be rejected by their peers at school and experience bullying, and to have adult relationships that involve more stress, violence and conflict.

When a child’s social world becomes more stressful, with fewer trusted relationships, this increases the child’s vulnerability to mental health problems.

However, this pathway is not fixed. By being more aware of a child’s potential social difficulties, we are in a much better position to be able to help them to build and maintain supportive social relationships. Supporting children to develop a ‘positive and protective social architecture’ provides them with a solid foundation for good mental health which can last a lifetime.

What Others Say About Us

I am truly taken aback by the level of care you have shown. The staff have gone out of their way to show him the attention and care that he has never had. When I visited him, it was like I was looking at a different child to what he was before he came. He was not like a child in care, he was like a child in a family. You have literally saved his life.

Social Worker

All children and young people thrive, and they make progress while living at the home. Because of the services provided the children and young people experience an individualised, stable and consistent home life. Children and young people benefit from the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to education and care. They each achieve their full potential and, in many cases, do so beyond previous expectations.


I am so grateful to the AWW team for their dedication and commitment to caring and supporting Sam. He recently reported that being at there gave him the space to think and the opportunity to reflect on his attitude and make plans for his future.

Social Worker

I have to share my delight at Luke’s progress at AWW. Thanks to your support, in the last 17 weeks Luke and has turned his life around significantly. From where he has come from to where he is now, I am so proud of him.

Social Worker

The placement was really good and beneficial to me. The staff were all really supportive and nice and always made themselves available to me if I had any problems. The outdoor activities that were offered helped me to have a better outlook and showed me that I can do so much more in life, and it really helped me process and made me feel like a better person.


As METCO Officer for Cumbria Police I have regular contact with the team at AWW in relation to vulnerable children at risk of CSE and going missing. If a specific incident has occurred, the Home Manager and I speak on the phone to discuss the best way forward. She also attends CSE risk assessment meetings and we receive Philomena Protocol forms when a young person arrives in placement.

Cumbria Police