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Trauma-informed juvenile justice systems

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Local Government State Government Federal Government Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: <1% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Trauma-informed juvenile justice systems adopt a trauma-informed approach to respond to trauma-related issues among youth in the juvenile justice system (NCTSN-Dierkhising 2013). Full system adoption requires a paradigm shift across juvenile justice processes and settings (Dierkhising 2016). Core elements of full system adoption include trauma screening and assessment, trauma-focused interventions, workforce education and training regarding childhood traumatic stress, and cross-system collaboration and support for strength-based relationships, family engagement, and environmental safety efforts (NCTSN-TI elements). Trauma-informed efforts vary by the specific model or intervention selected, and the extent to which core elements of full system adoption are implemented.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced post-traumatic stress
Improved well-being
Improved family functioning
Increased social service efficiency
Reduced delinquent behavior
Improved mental health

Evidence of Effectiveness

Full system adoption of trauma-informed juvenile justice policies and practices is a suggested strategy to decrease traumatic stress and increase well-being for youth involved in juvenile justice systems (OJJDP-Marsh 2015). Available evidence suggests that such an approach increases staff capacity in juvenile residential facilities and family and community engagement in offenders’ support and is more likely to provide individualized services to offenders than the traditional justice system (Ford 2013, Randall 2013). A Pennsylvania-based evaluation of Sanctuary model, one model that supports trauma-informed organizational culture change, suggests such a model may also reduce problem behaviors and improve feelings of safety among adolescents in a girl’s juvenile justice residential facility (Elwyn 2015).

Specific trauma-focused psychosocial interventions for youth such as Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET); Trauma and Grief Components Therapy for Adolescents (TGCTA); Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT); and Trauma-Adapted Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (TA-MTFC) have been shown to decrease post-traumatic stress and related symptoms, depression, and delinquent behaviors in youth involved in juvenile justice systems (Ford 2016). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects of full system adoption of trauma-informed juvenile justice policies and practices.

Implementation

United States

Trauma-informed policy and practice approaches have become a focus in the juvenile justice system as understanding of youth experiencing traumatic stress in the system has grown (NCTSN-Dierkhising 2013). In 2015, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed a court trauma consultation protocol for juvenile and family courts and allied systems (OJJDP-Marsh 2015).

Wisconsin

The Department of Health Services provides trauma-informed mental health training for state and local juvenile justice workers (WI TIC efforts). The Department of Corrections has adopted the Seeking Safety curriculum and a cognitive-behavioral program to help address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in adolescents (WI TIC collaboration).

Implementation Resources

NCTSN-TI elements - National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN). Essential elements of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress; 2016. Accessed on February 9, 2017
OJJDP-Pilnik 2012 - Pilnik L, Kendall JR. Identifying polyvictimization and trauma among court involved children and youth: A checklist and resource guide for attorneys and other court-appointed advocates. North Bethesda, MD: Safe Start Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice; 2012. Accessed on February 9, 2017
Sanctuary model - Community Works. The Sanctuary model. Accessed on February 9, 2017
TARGET - University of Connecticut Health Center. TARGET - Trauma affected regulation: Guide for education and therapy. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Citations - Description

Dierkhising 2016 - Dierkhising CB, Branson CE. Looking forward: A research and policy agenda for creating trauma-informed juvenile justice systems. Journal of Juvenile Justice. 2016;5(1):14–30. Accessed on February 9, 2017
NCTSN-Dierkhising 2013 - Dierkhising CB, Ko S, Goldman JH. Trauma-informed juvenile justice roundtable: Current issues and new directions in creating trauma-informed juvenile justice systems. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN); 2013. Accessed on February 9, 2017
NCTSN-TI elements - National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN). Essential elements of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress; 2016. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Elwyn 2015* - Elwyn LJ, Esaki N, Smith CA. Safety at a girls' secure juvenile justice facility. Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities. 2015;36(4):209–218. Accessed on February 9, 2017
Ford 2013* - Ford JD, Blaustein ME. Systemic self-regulation: A framework for trauma-informed services in residential juvenile justice programs. Journal of Family Violence. 2013;28(7):665–677. Accessed on February 9, 2017
Ford 2016 - Ford JD, Kerig PK, Desai N, Feierman J. Psychosocial interventions for traumatized youth in the juvenile justice system: Research, evidence base, and clinical/legal challenges. OJJDP Journal of Juvenile Justice. 2016;5(1):31-49. Accessed on February 9, 2017
OJJDP-Marsh 2015 - Marsh SC, Dierkhising CB, Decker KB, Rosiak J. Preparing for a trauma consultation in your juvenile and family court. Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); 2015. Accessed on February 9, 2017
Randall 2013 - Randall M, Haskell L. Trauma-informed approaches to law: Why restorative justice must understand trauma and psychological coping. Dalhousie Law Journal. 2013;36(2):501–533. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Citations - Implementation

NCTSN-Dierkhising 2013 - Dierkhising CB, Ko S, Goldman JH. Trauma-informed juvenile justice roundtable: Current issues and new directions in creating trauma-informed juvenile justice systems. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN); 2013. Accessed on February 9, 2017
OJJDP-Marsh 2015 - Marsh SC, Dierkhising CB, Decker KB, Rosiak J. Preparing for a trauma consultation in your juvenile and family court. Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); 2015. Accessed on February 9, 2017
WI TIC collaboration - Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Trauma-informed care (TIC) - Collaboration. Accessed on February 9, 2017
WI TIC efforts - Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Trauma-informed care (TIC) efforts in Wisconsin. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Page Last Updated

February 6, 2017

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