The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention OJJDP News & A Glance focuses on childhood traumatic stress. The Northwestern Juvenile Project has been highlighted as a longitudinal study of juveniles detained in Cook County, Illinois between 1995-1998. The children — now adults — have been followed through the years to track the incidence and impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma.
An overview of a recent paper from the Northwestern Juvenile Project (PTSD, Trauma, and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth by Karen M. Abram, Linda A. Teplin, et. al) that has been cited by the OJJDP is available here. A full version with citations is also available here.
The paper suggests three changes to the mental health system include:
- Improve services for victims of trauma to provide timely interventions.
- Improve the detection of PTSD.
- Avoid re-traumatizing youth through the conditions of confinement and common practices, such as handcuffing and searches.
The Project was also featured in the New York Times article, After the Violence, the Rest of Their Lives by Erica Goode.
The Indiana Juvenile Mental Health Screening, Assessment & Treatment Project has been screening detained children for mental health issues with the goal of connecting children to treatment when necessary. The 2011 Report and Recommendations by Matthew C. Aalsma, Ph.D., et. al. provides data about these Indiana children.
With the Commission on Improving the Status of Children, the Indiana Juvenile Mental Health Screening, Assessment & Treatment Project, and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, there is a real opportunity to address the mental health needs of delinquent children in Indiana, and change the practices of law enforcement, at the detention centers, and at the Indiana Department of Correction.