Bright, C. L. (2017, July). Adapting juvenile justice interventions to serve youth with trauma histories.

Presented at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health¹s 35th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Prague, Czech Republic.

The study is designed to understand the experiences and perceptions of service providers who provide Family Centered Treatment (FCT) to juvenile court-involved families. The study will explore the experiences about the level of comfort and skill in working with traumatized youth, the procedures they use to assess for trauma, the adaptations they make to existing services in the cause of trauma, and their perceptions of the success of these efforts.

We will randomly select service providers from clinicians currently or historically providing Family Centered Treatment (FCT) to juvenile court-involved families, and randomly select supervisors of these workers. We will use stratified random sampling to achieve some representation of each site (approximately 10 sites) in which FCT practitioners serve this population. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed, then coded to identify themes. All eligible providers who agree to participate will be included in the study. No group assignment will occur.

Many youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system have a history of traumatic experiences, including child abuse or neglect, sexual victimization, or experiencing or witnessing assault. Service providers in juvenile justice have become more aware of trauma history and its potential role in both response to services and outcomes (such as re-offending) following services. Therefore, service providers have taken steps to both better identify youth with trauma histories and adapt their services for youth with trauma histories. Largely absent from existing literature is exactly how these identification and adaptation processes have occurred and how prepared providers are to work with traumatized youth. This study will generate exploratory data on these processes and seek to describe the current state of practice with traumatized court-involved youth receiving a particular set of services, Family Centered Treatment (FCT).

This study has the potential to promote better understanding about how the service providers identify youth with trauma histories and adapt their services for youth with trauma histories. It may have implications regarding best practices for work with traumatized youth in the juvenile justice system.