a  
March | April 2014

OJJDP Administrator's Remarks Highlight History of Trauma Among System-Involved Youth

In a speech delivered at the annual conference of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on March 4, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee cited trauma-informed care as a key component in juvenile justice reform. Administrator Listenbee spoke during a plenary session attended by more than 400 child trauma researchers, clinicians and administrators, family members, youth advocates, and trauma survivors.

The OJJDP-supported Northwestern Juvenile Project revealed that 84 percent of youth in detention have experienced more than one trauma, and more than 56 percent have been exposed to trauma six or more times.

However, despite the development of evidence-based practices to identify and treat trauma during the past decade, screening for posttraumatic stress disorder is absent from the standard mental health screening process in most juvenile justice systems. “That has got to change,” Administrator Listenbee said. “The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is committed to making that change happen.”

Administrator Listenbee described the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent and reduce children’s trauma from experiencing violence as victims or witnesses. The initiative is administered by OJJDP. A key element of the initiative consists of eight demonstration sites, two of them in tribal areas, that are working to provide universal screening and assessment as well as evidence-based treatment and interventions to combat children’s exposure to violence across the child welfare, education, and juvenile justice systems.

Resources:

More information about the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Northwestern Juvenile Project, and the Defending Childhood Initiative is available online.