How Does Trauma-Informed Care Training Effect the Self-Efficacy of Professionals Who Serve Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth?

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Jordan, Amy J
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Middle Tennessee State University
Juvenile justice reform and services that aim to improve the lives of children at risk for involvement in the system are teeming with discussions involving “ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) science” and trauma-informed care (TIC). While many professionals agree that addressing complex social issues like ACEs, childhood trauma, and toxic stress require strategies using trauma-informed approaches, there are still many variations of TIC definitions, implementation, and sustainability issues within child-serving systems. Implementation science suggests, among other considerations, that service professionals’ self-efficacy is a valuable predictor of the success of new or updated policies and practices. This thesis used secondary data gathered from TIC trainings held around the eastern TN region and compared pre- and post-survey responses to five questions collectively used to determine whether overall self-efficacy was significantly improved after the trainings. Results of five paired sample t-tests showed there was significant increases to all of the following measures of participants’ perceptions: 1) understanding of the impact of trauma on their clients, 2) understanding of the impact of trauma on themselves, 3) knowledge of the principles of TIC (as defined by SAMHSA), 4) ability to implement these TIC principles, 5) and knowledge of strategies to prevent the use of coercive interventions that may re-traumatize youth. More studies on TIC implementation and sustainability can help determine how youth-serving professionals can feel more equipped to help the vulnerable population they serve.