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Trauma-Informed Care


The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) defines trauma as the experience of violence and victimization including sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe neglect, loss, domestic violence and/or the witnessing of violence, terrorism, or disasters. Trauma often leads to mental health and other types of co-occurring disorders and contact with the criminal justice system.

In February 2009, representatives from a number of State Agencies to include our Department of Juvenile Justice met with staff from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) to discuss a statewide Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Initiative. A workgroup was formed and on July 30th the group went before the Children and Youth Cabinet to share their collective commitment to interrupt the trauma cycle and provide treatment services that promote healing in the children, youth, and adults entrusted in the state's care.

DJJ is very committed to meeting the needs of the youth in our care. By providing Trauma-Informed Care, we have an opportunity to impact the lives of children like never before. We will be undergoing a paradigm shift in how we provide treatment services. Staff will no longer be asking "what's wrong with you," but instead "what happened to you?" This shift is based on the premise that many of the children and families in the juvenile justice system come from lives filled with trauma, abuse, violence, and fear.

The impact of trauma is realized by every age group, race, ethnicity, socio-economic group, gender, community, and workforce. In order for us to be successful, we must ensure that our employees are provided the resources and support to assist them in working with young people that may present very challenging behaviors. We are resolved that in DJJ, trauma will be acknowledged and addressed.

By providing Trauma-Informed Care we will continue to be "part of the solution," and the children we serve will be afforded the opportunity to live with more hope than fear.

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