CJCA President’s Message Fall 2017

Posted by Lisa Bjergaard
September 25, 2017

This summer, it seems as though our world experienced more than our fair share of catastrophic events, both natural and created by people.  Every week seemed to bring a new threat; hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, riots, and geopolitical upheaval. 

As a result of some of these disasters, one or more our CJCA members was faced with fresh additional operational challenges. Particularly in some weather events, these situations reached crisis proportion, and resulted in significant individual and collective community traumatic stress.

The concept of traumatic stress has been at the forefront our work for many years now.  The staff who work in our systems are called to work on a daily basis with youth who have all too frequently survived multiple traumatic events and situations. At the same time, staff are expected to manage their own personal life traumas, the stress that accumulates from the work environment, and this summer, a seemingly endless parade of disasters and turbulence.

As jurisdictions apply what is known about the principles of trauma informed care to youth corrections environments, our members express great interest and a need for trauma informed care implementation strategies designed specifically for youth corrections systems.  Juvenile correctional administrators recognize that traumatic stress has an enormous impact not only on the lives of the youth, but on the lives of the staff as well.  Therefore, the 2017 CJCA Leadership Institute is centered on traumatic stress and how to apply the science in our own jurisdictions.

Any of you who have attended a CJCA Leadership Institute in the past know the laser-like focus these meetings have.  CJCA has a proven strategy that involves utilizing topic experts layered with peer experience to create a powerful learning environment that inevitably produces top shelf products ready to guide field implementation.  The 2017 Institute promises to be no exception.

In preparation for this year’s Institute, CJCA conducted a national survey of member jurisdictions regarding trauma informed care practices.  The survey provides fresh data for the expert presenters, who are able to prepare their presentations tailored exactly to our situations. 

Our experts, Dr. Chris Branson and Dr. Monique Marrow, will moderate a discussion they have titled; “Trauma Informed Care, from Theory to Practice”.  Peer lead workgroups will explore goals, barriers and strategies for implementing trauma informed care.  Finally, we will work together to build a trauma informed care implantation toolkit that will not doubt be used to advance the state of practice in this area across juvenile corrections systems.

This intensive trauma workshop will be bookended at the front with a keynote presentation by Ms. Eileen Garry, Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and at the end with a presentation facilitated by Ms. Tanya Washington, Sr. Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  A grant from The Annie E. Casey Foundation makes this Leadership Institute possible, and CJCA applauds their support for this important and timely work. 

CJCA has a mission to connect, develop and strengthen those who have chosen to lead juvenile corrections systems.  The annual Leadership Institute provides an opportunity for a national gathering of youth corrections leaders to tackle a specific salient issue and find a relevant way to move practice forward.  This year, we will come together to understand, recognize, and build a toolkit that responds to the effects of violence and trauma.  Together, we can build a roadmap to recovery and health for all of those in our systems impacted directly or indirectly by trauma.