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Essential Elements

More than 80% of juvenile justice-involved youth report experiencing trauma, with many having experienced multiple, chronic, and pervasive interpersonal traumas. This exposure places them at risk for emotional, behavioral, developmental, and legal problems. Unresolved posttraumatic stress symptoms can lead to serious long-term consequences across the entire lifespan, such as problems with interpersonal relationships; cognitive functioning; and mental health disorders including PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, disordered eating, depression, self-injury, and conduct problems—all of which can increase the likelihood of involvement in delinquency, crime, and the justice system. The prevalence and severity of traumatic stress reactions among juvenile justice-involved youth, caregivers, families, professionals, and providers, necessitates a system-wide response to prevent, identify, address, and minimize further traumatic stress.

The following represent the Essential Elements of a Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice System:

Essential Elements of a Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice System

  1. Trauma-informed policies and procedures
  2. Identification and screening of youth who have been traumatized
  3. Clinical assessment and intervention for trauma-impaired youth
  4. Trauma-informed programming and staff education
  5. Prevention and management of secondary traumatic stress (STS)
  6. Trauma-informed partnering with youth and families
  7. Trauma-informed cross system collaboration
  8. Trauma-informed approaches to address disparities and diversity