Assessing Trauma for Juvenile and Family Court Judges: From Development to Implementation, 2013-2017

June 21, 2019

Due to increased requests for assistance from courts and allied systems seeking to become more trauma-informed, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed a court trauma consultation protocol in 2013. Although the NCJFCJ and organizations such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) had a long history of providing training and technical assistance to courts on traumatic stress, no protocol had been developed for conducting this type of consultation and subsequent technical assistance to promote trauma-informed care in the unique environments and institutions of courts.

The information presented in this publication includes key findings developed by an analysis of 269 recommendations from 23 trauma consultations performed by NCJFCJ staff in 18 states from 2013-2017. Findings focus on: (a) the need for consistent trauma screenings; (b) the environment’s role on traumatic stress reactions; and (c) the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress in court personnel. The publication also includes a set of concrete recommendations that courts can follow in order to become more trauma responsive. It concludes with a discussion of next steps the NCJFCJ can take to further this promising trauma consultation work.