In The News

Study Demonstrates Feasibility & Utility of Trauma Screening in Juvenile Justice Settings

Cover of the Journal for Traumatic Stress

A large body of research has shown that many children suffering from symptoms related to traumatic stress are not identified and do not receive appropriate treatment. We also know that a significant percentage of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a history of trauma exposure. 

Trauma screening is a promising strategy to help address this, but staff at child-serving organizations often have reservations: Am I qualified to do this? Will asking about trauma cause further distress? How much time will it take?

To better understand and address these concerns, CHDI's Jason Lang and Brittany Lange partnered with researchers from Penn State and the Connecticut Judicial Branch on a study of the feasibility and utility of trauma screening in the juvenile justice system.

Their findings, published in the July 2023 issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress, revealed that trauma screening is useful and practical in juvenile justice settings when appropriate staff support is provided. Very few staff reported that screening caused distress for children or caregivers. In fact, staff reported that screening was ten times more likely to improve child and family engagement than to hinder it.

Read the full study findings in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Staff Contacts

Jason Lang, PhD - Chief Program Officer