Trauma-informed Juvenile Justice Program

The Trauma-informed Juvenile Justice Program is a Category III (community practice) center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network based at Bellevue Hospital Center. Funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and partnered with the New York Office of Children’s Services (OCS) and the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), our program focuses on improving the quality of care in juvenile justice facilities in New York City and State and, eventually across the United States.

Youth in the juvenile justice system have very high rates of trauma exposure and, sometimes, this trauma exposure is expressed in the violent behavior for which children were adjudicated. The Trauma-informed Juvenile Justice Program aims to address this serious problem by providing the following to detention facilities in the juvenile justice system:

  • High quality screening tools to identify a child’s trauma history and its impact on his or her functioning.
  • Training programs for correction officers in detention facilities so that they may be best equipped to help the youth in their facilities.
  • Intervention programs to address the traumatic stress problems of youth who reside in detention facilities
  • Consultation programs to help administrators of detention facilities best organize and manage their program to address the needs of traumatized children in their facilities
  • Legal advocacy programs to educate judges and others in the legal system about the relationship between violent behavior and traumatic stress in some children who commit crimes.