A trauma-informed model for adjudicated adolescent females
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
Without appropriate trauma-informed interventions, the nearly 500,000 adolescent females adjudicated annually are destined to carry a life-long burden. Their histories are characterized by life stressors and traumatic events that negatively impact their overall health, including neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and witnessing domestic violence. Trauma manifests in other ways such as depression, behavioral problems and alcohol and drug abuse all of which can speed entry into the juvenile justice system. Detention itself can lead to re-victimization and amplification of trauma symptomatology. While some public health interventions exist for the juvenile justice population (i.e., substance abuse), none are sufficiently trauma-informed to address the unique needs of traumatized adolescents, especially females with trauma histories. Hence, we developed a trauma-informed model of treatment, using contemporary multidisciplinary research, designed to improve the life-course of the adolescent female. One important and unique aspect of our model is a culturally specific guided therapeutic activity workbook designed to facilitate emotional healing and post-traumatic growth for teen-age girls involved in the justice system. Grounded in narrative theory, it offers self-expression exercises to facilitate mastery over life and help re-authoring problem-saturated self-identities. Treatment provided through trauma-focused lenses is an imperative for offending adolescent girls, especially if the intergenerational cycle of trauma so common in the lives of children and women is to be broken. The public health significance of a trauma-based approach for adjudicated adolescents is remarkable. Moreover, the proposed model could help shape public health efforts to improve life-long circumstances for other vulnerable groups of adolescents.
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify specific trauma-based approached for adjudicated adolescent girls that promote resiliency that ensures their maximum lifelong funcitoning, development and health.
Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Incarceration
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an expert in forensic psychology, trauma and juvenile justice, with years of experience in the field, as a clinician, educator and consultant.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.