Blog: Trauma

Defining Trauma – Give SAMHSA Your Feedback

Increasingly, multiple federal agencies representing various service sectors have recognized the impact of trauma on the children, adults, and families they serve. In 2011, in its strategic action plan, SAMHSA designated Trauma as one of its key initiatives. This led SAMHSA to revisit its trauma-related concepts and programming and their applicability not only to behavioral health but to other related fields.
In May 2012, after an extensive literature and policy review, SAMHSA convened a group of national experts to assist in the development of a working definition of trauma and trauma-informed approaches, and principles and guidelines for implementing a trauma-informed approach to services. The experts included trauma survivors, practitioners from multiple fields, researchers and policy makers.
SAMHSA is now seeking input from the public and is inviting those interested in this issue to read and provide feedback on the complete concept paper, SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Trauma and Principles and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.

Topics: No bio box, Trauma

Stop the Trauma. Start the Healing: A Latino Health Context

Editor's note: On February 26, 2013, Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez from the National Compadres Network presented their Brown Paper at a Reclaiming Futures webinar. The webinar recording and slides are now available for download.

Census data indicates that Latino children are the fastest growing population in the United States. A growing body of research has highlighted the continuous plight of Latino male health and health related outcomes in this nation. The cycle of inequity has negatively impacted health outcomes for Latino boys and men. This disparity also contributes to unacceptably low levels of educational achievement and poor outcomes related to the social determinants of health. For example, a 2011 study by the College Board’s Advocacy & Policy Center indicates that 51% of Hispanic male high school graduates ages 15-24 years should expect to be incarcerated, jobless, or dead.
While the field of philanthropy has recently seen a notable shift toward investing in Males of Color (MoC) initiatives, gaps in Latino specific research, allocated funding and organizational capacity still exist. Essentially, funding targeting Latinos has been neither focused nor explicit. The existing body of literature that addresses the complexity of Latino identity, tradition and culture is under developed. Furthermore, trauma within the field of MoC dominates the conversation but does nothing to emphasize movement toward a healing aspect that this field so critically needs.

Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | October 2012

Did you miss some of our blog posts last month? Not to worry - here's a round-up of our most popular posts from October 2012.
10. [NEW REPORT] Community Solutions for Youth in Trouble
Over the past few years, Texas has shifted youth rehabilitation from large state-run facilities to smaller community programs. And they're seeing great results.
9. October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month
Last month, over 20 states are holding events to raise awareness about youth justice issues and the juvenile justice system.
8. 7 Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice
A new article from the New York Law School Law Review examines problems with the juvenile justice system and offers solutions for a more productive youth justice system.
7. NC Teens, Police, Community Join Forces to Stop Bullying Epidemic 
Recognizing the need to address bullying in schools, young people in North Carolina partnered with police officers and community members to create a short movie against bullying.

Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | September 2012

Did you miss some of our blog posts last month? Not to worry - here's a round-up of the top 10 posts from September 2012.
10. Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline
A recent Children's Defense Fund report looks at the cradle-to-prison pipeline and offers ways to disrupt the cycle.
9. Phoenix House Uses the West Side Story Project to Disrupt the Cycle of Youth Violence
By connecting law enforcement agencies and troubled teens through the West Side Story, Phoenix House is interrupting the cycle of violence and distrust and encouraging positive youth development.
8. Pilot Juvenile Reentry Program in Illinois
Right on Crime's Jeanette Moll looks at a program in Illinois working to slash recidivism rates by targeting the underlying issues, whether related to substance abuse or family problems.

[infographic] Children's Exposure to Violence

Millions of children are exposed to violence in their schools, homes and communities each year. A new infographic from the Safe Start Center takes a look at the numbers and shares ways to recognize and help traumatized kids at school.
Research has shown that the earlier a child is exposed to traumatic events, the less s/he will be able to cope and the greater the likelihood for developmental problems. There's also an increased chance of aggressive behavior which can lead to the juvenile justice system. A recent study found that 92% of incarcerated teens experienced traumatic events in their childhood. 
In addition to the infographic, the Safe Start Center has an entire toolkit for school administrators and educators that includes tips, practical tools and information on how to help children exposed to violence.

Topics: No bio box, Trauma

Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts of August

We realize that many of our readers spent at least part of August traveling and spending time away from the computer. So, we've put together a little recap of our most popular juvenile justice blog posts of August 2012.
10. A Look Back on 11 Years of Juvenile Justice Reform
Earlier this summer, the National Conference of State Legislatures published a report detailing the progress made in the juvenile justice arena at the state and national levels.
9. Funding Opportunity: Improve Outcomes for Boys of Color
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced a new call for proposals for 10 grants of up to $500,000 each. The Forward Promise initiative is looking for innovative, community-based projects working to strengthen health, education and employment outcomes for middle school and high school-aged boys and young men of color.

Exposure to Violence has Long-Term Effect on Kids

Children exposed to violence express stress factors for up to a year, according to a new study from Penn State. This means that exposure to violence may have long term negative health consequences for kids.
From Science Daily:

"We know that exposure to violence is linked with aggression, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms and academic and cognitive difficulties in the short term, but little is known about the long-term effects of such exposure," said Elizabeth Susman, Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health, Penn State. "Our data show that the stress reaction to violence exposure is not just immediate. There's an effect that endures."


PODCAST: Early Trauma, Teen Aggression and the Juvenile Justice System

In a recent podcast, Natalie Katz of Sage Publications interviewed Julian D. Ford, one of the authors of “Complex Trauma and Aggression in Secure Juvenile Justice Settings.” This study, written by John Chapman, Daniel F. Connor and Keith R. Cruise in addition to Ford, examines the relationship between trauma experienced by young people and aggressive behavior, especially in youths in the juvenile justice system.
Below you’ll find Natalie Katz’s main questions in bold, followed by my summary of Ford’s answers. You can also listen to the full podcast here (it’s about 15 minutes long).
What kinds of trauma are most often experienced by youths?
Most youths experience one traumatic event sometime in their childhoods. These events are very seriously threatening and fall into a few different categories:

  • Violation of bodily integrity
  • Violent trauma creating serious physical harm
  • Accidental trauma (driving collisions, falls, etc)


Prison or Prevention: Maltreated Children and the Juvenile Justice System

Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have confirmed that children who experience maltreatment are more likely to be referred/arrested for delinquent offenses. Maltreated children have also been found to more likely become involved in the adult criminal justice system. In fact, a 2004 National Institute of Justice study found maltreated children to be 11 times more likely than a matched control group to be arrested, and 2.7 times more likely to be arrested as an adult.
In 2011, the California Senate Office of Research released findings about the foster care experiences of California prison inmates who were scheduled to be paroled within eight months of June 2008. This research found that of the 2,549 polled inmates, 316 men and 40 women (14%) had been in foster care sometime during their youth and half of this percentage had been placed in group homes.
As a result of these studies, several child protective service (CPS) agencies, including the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County (LA), have joined forces with their counterparts in the juvenile justice system to collaboratively service youth who were concurrently involved in both of these systems. These youth are commonly referred to as “crossover” youth. While LA was observing some initial positive outcomes from these teaming efforts, two leaders [1] involved in the effort wondered if it was possible through research to identify which of the maltreated children were the most likely to become delinquent. If this was possible, then perhaps new practices could be adopted to prevent these youth from becoming delinquent, thereby increasing the likelihood that these most at-risk youth would become productive adults versus adult criminals.

Punishment vs. Rehabilitation and the Effects of Trauma on High-Risk Youth

Studies show that 75 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have experienced traumatic events; 50 percent have endured post-traumatic stress symptoms. Additionally, system-involved youth who have been exposed to trauma are more likely to face overt behavioral and academic challenges.
Exposure to child trauma can lead to high-risk behaviors such as fighting, running away, and substance abuse, as well as the inability to focus in class, overreacting, and poor self-regulation. These behaviors ultimately increase their chances of entering the juvenile justice system or returning to juvenile courts for a repeated time. This vicious cycle has many officials within the juvenile and education systems concerned about how to handle these troubled and vulnerable adolescents. 
The National Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships examines this critical issue in their recent report Responding to Students Affected by Trauma: Collaborating Across Public Systems. The report examines the long-term effects child trauma, particularly for those served by public agencies.

JMATE 2012: Bad Kids or Hurt Kids? The Compelling Need for a Trauma Informed Juvenile Justice System

Starting in 2010, there's been a policy shift around drugs, addiction and treatment, and it could not have come at a better time, explained David Mineta (deputy director of demand reduction at ONDCP) at yesterday's JMATE plenary. More Americans are dying from drug use than from any other kind of accidental death, including car crashes and gun wounds. "This is a public health problem," stressed Mineta, before explaining that the ONDCP is prioritizing prevention, treatment and diversion programs in its forthcoming 2012 national drug control strategy. [editor's note: we'll share this as soon as it's out]
"Addiction can be overcome and recovery is absolutely possible," said Mineta. "And we need to make sure our young people have the brightest future possible. It's personal for us."  
Following Mineta's moving keynote on addiction and prevention measures, Kris Buffington addressed the issue of trauma and its impact on adolescents.
Buffington explained that traumatic experinces can substantially impact biological, psychological and social development in youth. And unfortunately, symptoms associated with exposure to traumatic events are often misinterpreted as indicating a young person has a behavioral disorder.