CCA in New York City is a fully trauma-aware and trauma-informed agency, as the result of a two-year staff training project completed in 2015. The ability to recognize and respond to possible symptoms of trauma is a critical skill set for work with court-involved youth. An estimated 80-90% of youth involved in the juvenile justice system report past exposure to trauma such as abuse, community violence, and sexual assault. An estimated 30-50% of juvenile-justice-involved youth have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is comparable to the rate among military veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan.
Youth offenders with trauma/PTSD have worse outcomes than youth offenders without trauma, including greater likelihood to get re-arrested, greater psychosocial impairment, and a higher rate of suicide attempts. Appropriate trauma treatment can lessen the impact of trauma, reduce the likelihood that youth offenders will return to prison, and lead to better long-term life outcomes.
The training project was led by Christopher Branson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at New York University, who is one of the nation's leading experts on trauma in the criminal and juvenile justice system. TARGET (Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy) is the protocol used in the training, chosen because it has shown in published trials to promote recovery in youth from post-traumatic stress disorder. Funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supported the training project.
Dr. Christopher Branson leads a staff training intrauma
at CCA's Brooklyn office