Resilience Alliance

About This Program

Target Population: Child welfare staff, supervisors, and administrators

Program Overview

Resilience Alliance is designed to mitigate secondary trauma symptoms experienced by child welfare staff, and secondary trauma's impact on unit and agency functioning. Participants are provided with information and tools to help them identify, better understand, and address the ways child welfare work affects them personally and professionally. The intervention has a strong focus on how secondary trauma influences organizational cohesion and functioning, which requires the participation of all levels of staff, including leadership.

Resilience Alliance is delivered in weekly group sessions, over a 24-week period. Each session includes a brief didactic lesson focusing on a particular resilience skill, an exercise that allows the group to practice implementing the skill, and a "take away" assignment that encourages participants to implement the skill in their daily work.

Program Goals

The goals of Resilience Alliance are:

  • Reduced symptoms of secondary traumatic stress
  • Increased self-efficacy
  • Increased collaboration
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Reduced attrition
  • Improved casework practice

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Resilience Alliance.

Essential Components

The essential components of Resilience Alliance include:

  • Designed to target the impact of traumatic stress on staff functioning and mutual support within the workplace setting, while acknowledging that the work with children and families is an important source of secondary traumatic stress
  • Designed to be delivered to an established group of child welfare staff; this could be a specific work area, an office or a whole agency
  • Delivered in weekly group sessions, and all staff within the target group – including supervisors and leadership – participate in the intervention
    • Guidance is provided in the training manual for how to engage stakeholders (leadership and supervisors) before beginning the intervention
    • Two pre-intervention meetings that are recommended to be held for all intervention participants before the weekly group sessions begin
  • Designed around a 4-week cycle where each week different groups of staff participate in the group sessions, which allows for some same-peer sessions (e.g., caseworker-only groups, supervisor-only groups) and some unit-based sessions (e.g., groups comprised of a supervisor and their caseworker team)
    • This provides for sessions where staff can feel safe sharing their experiences/concerns with their peers, as well as sessions focused on unit cohesion and functioning
  • Three concepts underlie the group sessions:
    • Optimism
    • Mastery
    • Collaboration
    • Each one counteracts common responses to secondary trauma exposure (e.g., optimism counteracts negativity and hopelessness)
  • Weekly sessions focus on different resilience-related skills that are related to or build on one or more of the core concepts, and each session is broken into three components:
    • A didactic review of the resilience concept/skill
    • An exercise that allows participants to practice the skill and debrief with the group
    • A take-away activity that allows participants to implement the skill into their work during the upcoming week
  • The first 12 weeks of the intervention are structured cumulatively so that participants get practice building on/integrating the skills
  • During the second 12 weeks the facilitator chooses modules that best address the current needs of the group

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

Weekly one-hour group sessions

Recommended Duration:

24 weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)


Resilience Alliance includes a homework component:

At the end of each session participants are given a take-away activity that allows them to incorporate a given resilience skill into their daily work over the coming week.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

For the purposes of privacy/confidentiality, the group session should be conducted in separate space where people will not be interrupted and other people in the office cannot hear the discussion.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

It is recommended that this intervention be delivered by someone with clinical training that includes group work. It can either be implemented by someone from an external organization or by someone in a different area of the agency It should not be implemented by a supervisor or manager within the target work group.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute. (2011). The Resilience Alliance: Promoting resilience and reducing secondary trauma among child welfare staff. New York, NY.

Training manual:

Participant handbook:

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

While there isn't a formal training program, consultation to sites interested in implementing it is available.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Orsi-Hunt, R., Harrison, C. L., Rockwell, K. E., & Barbee, A. P. (2023). Addressing secondary traumatic stress, burnout, resilience and turnover in the child welfare workforce: Results from a 6-month, cluster-randomized control trial of Resilience Alliance. Children and Youth Services Review, 151, Article 107044.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 375


  • Age — Mean=34.7 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 85% White, 8% Hispanic/Latino, 3% African American, 2% Non-Hispanic/Multi-Race, 1% Asian, 1% Indigenous/Pacific Islander, and 1% Other
  • Gender — 87% Female, 13% Male
  • Status — Participants were frontline child welfare workers and their supervisors.

Location/Institution: Large Midwestern State, U.S.

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to test an adaptation of Resilience Alliance (RA) to address workplace stress, burnout, and actual workplace turnover. Participants were randomized to either an adapted version of RA treatment or to a no treatment control group. Measures utilized include study developed surveys, administrative human resources data, and the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale. Results indicate that there were no statistically significant effects of the intervention on changes in secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout, or resilience between treatment and control groups over a 6-month period. Participation in RA did cause significant differences in 6-month changes for four turnover intention measures. Finally, RA had no statistically significant effect on turnover. Limitations include implementing a clustered design in an actual child welfare agency which caused movement between treatment and control groups due to natural processes of workers transferring between offices and work groups, whether at the behest of the agency or by their own request. Also, the agency experienced natural turnover across the study timeframe, with some workers resigning and then new workers coming on board. Finally, there were concerns over contamination between groups as coworkers of both groups were naturally in contact with one another in the office setting.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 6 months and 2 years.

Additional References

ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute. (2012). Addressing secondary traumatic stress among child welfare staff: A practice brief. New York: NYU Langone Medical Center. Retrieved from

ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute. (2011). The Resilience Alliance: Promoting resilience and reducing secondary trauma among child welfare staff. Retrieved from

Tullberg, E., Avinadav, R., & Chemtob, C. (2012). Going beyond self-care: Effectively addressing secondary traumatic stress among child protective staff. CW360°, Spring, 22.

Contact Information

Erika Tullberg, MPA, MPH
Agency/Affiliation: NYU School of Medicine
Phone: (646) 754-5362

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2019

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2017