Expanding Trauma-Informed System of Care Practices in Maine: A Partnership with Juvenile Justice, Families, and Youth
In August 2012, the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC), Division of Juvenile Services and the THRIVE Initiative were awarded a SAMHSA System of Care Expansion Implementation Cooperative Agreement grant to expand the trauma-informed system of care learning and approach to juvenile justice. Called “Expand ME” the program has three major goals: To create an infrastructure within Juvenile Services for providing trauma-informed services; To ensure youth involved with juvenile justice are screened, assessed and referred to effective services in a way that promotes family driven and youth guided principles; and To reinforce trauma-informed system of care practices statewide through training, technical assistance and social marketing. As part of this expansion, THRIVE has created positions within Maine’s juvenile justice system to serve the southern and northern regions of the state. The intent of the Community Outreach Specialists (COS) is to identify youth with trauma and mental health needs earlier in the juvenile justice process, to help youth and families understand and navigate the juvenile justice system, prioritize their own needs, identify their strengths and link them to needed services and supports. The long-term goal is that early intervention from the COS will help the youth from continuing further into the juvenile justice system or returning to that system. Each COS has lived experience as a parent/caregiver or family member of a child with special needs and/or with Juvenile Services, Mental health or Child Welfare. Moreover, each has received training in the Juvenile Justice and children’s mental health system; evidence based treatment, trauma-informed system of care principles and practices and mandated reporting. The Community Outreach Specialists offer short-term (~3 months) peer support to families with youth, 12-20, diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance (SED), whose offenses have placed them on informal adjustment, probation or community reintegration from one of Maine’s correctional facilities. The COS staff are co-located in the Juvenile Services regional offices in South Portland (serving York and Cumberland Counties) and Bangor (serving Penobscot, Piscataquis, Aroostook, Hancock and Washington Counties).
Youth M.O.V.E. Maine
Youth MOVE Maine is a regionally based statewide youth and young adult driven program dedicated to ensuring that all young people have a say in the decisions that impact their lives.
Youth Court is a system that allows young people who have violated the law to be held accountable by their peers. Trained youth community volunteers act as advocates and judges using the restorative justice framework to create an agreement for all.
Thrive in partnership with the Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice Services, created the Community Outreach Specialist (COS) position to support families with youth, between the ages 12-20, who are currently involved with the Juvenile Justice Services