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OP-ED: How Do We Build Resilience Among Youth?

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How can the juvenile justice system — and other agencies that serve children — build post-traumatic resilience among youth? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest foundation dedicated to improving the health of all Americans, is exploring how it can contribute to ending the culture of violence and trauma that is an obstacle to good health for too many vulnerable Americans. We cannot call ourselves a healthy nation if we continue to be a violent one. A new report from the Juvenile Law Center, commissioned by RWJF, makes it clear that in addition to providing trauma-informed services, we need to be mindful of how we use our knowledge of a child's trauma to help and not to hurt. The report, “Trauma and Resilience: A New Look at Legal Advocacy for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems,” provides a vital look at how system involvement — in the juvenile justice or child welfare system — can cause trauma, or exacerbate underlying trauma caused by sexual abuse, violence, the death of a loved one, witnessing violence and other experiences. Continue Reading →

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