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Trauma Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Many types of traumatic experiences occur in the lives of children and adolescents from all walks of life. Often, the after-effects of these experiences - persistent, post-traumatic stress reactions - play a role in the legal and behavioral problems that bring youth in contact with law enforcement and the juvenile justice system ... Using a trauma-informed approach, juvenile justice systems can improve outcomes for justice-involved youth by: Better matching youth with trauma services that can reduce the impact of traumatic stress; Improving general conditions of confinement; [and] Preventing the harmful and inadvertent “re-traumatization” of youth." Sections cover: what psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are, and how these affect youth and families; survival mode in youth with PTSD; why youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system are especially at risk for problems with traumatic stress; what constitutes trauma-informed services within juvenile justice systems-universal screening, assessment, and trauma treatment interventions; what also contributes to a trauma-informed perspective-creating trauma-informed environments, and collaborating across systems; what the benefits and challenges of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system are; guidance from the field for youth and families, juvenile justice systems, and examples of programs; and additional resources.