By New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (New England MHTTC)
Many youth in the juvenile justice system have survived horrific traumatic experiences including chronic exposure to violence that has profoundly shaped how they think, behave, and respond. Direct care professionals working with youth in juvenile justice-related facilities have very challenging and emotionally draining roles; they are responsible for preserving their safety and the safety of others and serve as parent, counselor, mentor, role model, disciplinarian, and advocate.
To address and understand the impact of trauma on youth in the juvenile justice system and those at risk and their thoughts, attitudes, and actions, the New England MHTTC hosted a learning community series in collaboration with Dr. Rocio Chang, PsyD, and Doris Maldonado Mendez, MEd.
“Think Trauma: A Training for Working with Justice-Involved Youth” provided trauma-focused curriculum to help direct care staff and organizational leadership make sense of potentially trauma-related behaviors and incorporate procedures and policies that promote safer facilities and communities, rehabilitated youth, and staff with reduced stress and increased job satisfaction.
Access recordings of each training session:
A participant in the training shared,"In my daily work, I see many youths detained for different reasons. Detention is not a safe place. They all have traumatic histories, are involved with social services, and have experienced a wide variety of traumas, such as substance misuse within the family, death within the family, family members being incarcerated, poverty, and so much more. We need training on trauma like this to help us develop a trauma-informed care plan." Participants also discussed the importance of creating a trauma-informed setting and how it requires acquiring knowledge; modifying behavior; shifting cultural and organizational paradigms; and changing policies and procedures at every level. One commented: "Very positive and dynamic elements to strengthen peer specialist and clinical skills and guide clients into a happier state of mind and inner selves."
Child Welfare Committee, & National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2020). Child welfare trauma training toolkit: Trainer’s Guide (Second Edition). NCTSN, National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.