Trauma Informed Services and Systems

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Supporting Youth through Trauma-Informed Systems

The Tribal Youth Resource Center in partnership with the National Native Children's Trauma Center offers training and consultation in the development of trauma-informed tribal juvenile justice systems.

Approximately 1 in 4 U.S. children will experience a significant traumatic event by the age of 16. Research suggests that Native American youth experience more incidents of trauma than the general youth population and are at increased risk of developing trauma-related problems as a result. When exposure to traumatic events occurs frequently, or when traumatic stress is left unaddressed, children may be susceptible to relationship problems, drug and alcohol abuse, violent behavior, suicide and depression, problems in school, and bullying and victimization, among numerous other long-range health and mental health concerns.

Often, the systems intended to support vulnerable young people end up re-traumatizing them. This commonly occurs as a result of agency policies, procedures, and staff expectations developed without an understanding of how they might affect young people who have experienced trauma. Agencies and systems can, however, take steps to better meet the needs of their clients with trauma histories. This process is called becoming a “trauma-informed” system.

A trauma-informed system

  • recognizes the impact of individual, intergenerational, and historical traumas on the lives of tribal youth and communities;
  • supports individual and community healing and resilience from the effects of traumatic stress;
  • minimizes the risk of re-traumatization;
  • incorporates input from community, family, and individual young people; and
  • integrates cultural wisdom into services and practices. 

While trauma-informed principles are a relatively new phenomenon in the human services field, tribes have long understood the links between a supportive community environment and the wellbeing of their children and young people. The traditional cultural knowledge that guides the development of community supports in each tribal setting should be a vital part of any effort to bring about trauma-informed change.

If you would like more information about trauma-informed training and consultation opportunities available through the Tribal Youth Resource Center please email us at TribalYouth@TLPI.org