National Trauma Convening Explores Implications of Trauma on Legal Advocacy for Youth in Child Welfare and Justice Systems

Juvenile Law Center,

On January 28-29, Juvenile Law Center hosted "Trauma and Resilience: A New Look at Legal Advocacy for Youth in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems." More than 35 national experts from the legal, mental health, and public health fields gathered to discuss the effects of trauma—particularly stemming from violence, both on a personal level and within economically disadvantaged communities—on youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The group explored whether new legal arguments emerge from research that would affect ways that lawyers advocate for traumatized, system-involved youth, both in the courtroom (at delinquency and sentencing hearings) and in institutional placements like juvenile detention facilities and residential programs for foster youth.

The convening was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the ACE Rule of Law Fund. While there has been much recent conversation about "trauma-informed care," Juvenile Law Center sought to launch a national conversation about the legal relevance of trauma for youth who may be or are court-involved.

Sessions at the two-day convening included discussions on the impact of trauma on brain development, using trauma in legal advocacy, system-change approaches, and how to create effective trauma-informed policy and practices. 

View photos from the event: