January | February 2017

OJJDP Hosts National Conference on Trauma-Informed Care for Tribal Youth

On December 6–7, 2016, more than 120 representatives from OJJDP-funded tribal youth programs gathered in Palms Springs, CA, to share information with their peers and learn from experts in the fields of youth development, trauma-informed care, and juvenile justice as a part of the OJJDP National Tribal Youth Conference. Entitled “Walking With Tribal Youth: Trauma-Informed, Culturally Based Justice and Healing,” the conference was organized by OJJDP’s Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center.

According to Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive, a report from the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, American Indian and Alaska Native children suffer exposure to violence at rates higher than any other race in the United States. They also experience posttraumatic stress disorder at triple the rate of the general population. The effects of this trauma include poor physical and mental health, poor school performance, development of substance use disorders, and overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system.

To address these negative effects, the conference included presentations, workshops, and panel discussions on the impact of historical and intergenerational trauma; trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy; the adaptation of treatment approaches to tribal cultures; the principles of positive youth development; strengths-based strategies for engaging youth (the promotion of cultural connections, skill development, leadership opportunities, and healthy relationships); trauma-informed and culturally appropriate screening tools in the juvenile justice system; and promising practices for building community partnerships in Indian country.

“We have created this conference to provide you with tools and knowledge to meet the needs of the youth in your communities,” said OJJDP Associate Administrator, James Antal, who leads the Office’s Youth Development, Prevention, and Safety Division. “Our hope is that you will take what you learn here back to your communities and apply it to your work. OJJDP will continue to support your work through technical assistance and other resources.”


For information on training and technical assistance offered by the OJJDP-supported Indian Country Child Trauma Center and the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, visit the providers’ websites.