Displaying items by tag: Trauma exposure

MAY 23, 2017

Over the past several weeks, many youth development professionals have become aware of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, which revolves around the suicide of a female high school student, Hannah Baker. Due to its fast-spreading popularity, whether or not you have seen it, you may have received questions from parents and youth about the themes that are addressed in the series. These themes, many of which are uncomfortable and controversial, are nonetheless important to talk about, especially with students of a similar age to the characters depicted on the show. Conversations about mental health and suicide can reduce the stigma behind these experiences to allow those who are suffering to know that they are not alone and can get help. However, because of the complexity of these topics and the ways in which they are depicted in the series, parents/guardians, school administrators, and youth development professionals should be aware of the questions and concerns young people may have after watching it, so they can be prepared for the important discussions the series may spark.

For those who are unfamiliar with the series’ premise, the story unfolds through a series of pre-recorded tapes on which the main character, Hannah Baker, describes thirteen reasons that led up to her suicide. Through the episodes the audience finds out that Hannah has had many rumors spread about her, and that eventually she was the target of bullying, social isolation, and sexual abuse. Below, we offer some information about the complex themes addressed in the show, and where you can go for more resources. As we know many parents and youth development professionals have been addressing these topics with youth, we invite you to post other resources and tips you have found useful in the comments section below.

Published in NMRC Blog
Friday, 19 August 2016 12:19

A New Lens for Mentoring: Trauma Informed Care

Webinar Date: March 19, 2015


  • Laurie Vargas, M.S., PPSC, Mentoring for Success


Paper List of Additional Resources
Paper Self Care Assessment
Paper Download the Presentation Slides

Published in Webinars
Friday, 15 March 2019 11:50


MARCH 15, 2019

Art Heals!

Karen pulls up to the suburban four-bedroom home in West Phoenix, opens her trunk and pulls out two green canvas bags that read “Free Arts” on the side. She looks up and notices a small face pressed against the glass in the front window. The front door swings open and a staff member from the foster care group home unlocks the screen from the inside, letting Karen into the house. Immediately, two grade school aged girls run up and ask, “What are we making today, Miss Karen?” “You’ll see!” Karen replies with a twinkle in her eye. “Want to help me set out the supplies?” The girls agree and set to work. Soon, five other girls trickle into the kitchen area, some with wet hair fresh from the shower, others already in their pajamas. They gather around the large dining table, picking up supplies and asking excited questions, “Are these for us?” “What are these?” “Ooo, shiny!” one exclaims about some stickers fresh from the package. “I’m new here, who are you?” one asks.

Published in NMRC Blog
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 09:14

Bulletin Examines Trauma-Informed Classrooms

NOVEMBER 29, 2017
Trauma Informed Classrooms

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has released "Trauma-Informed Classrooms." This OJJDP-funded technical assistance bulletin provides an overview of the impact of trauma on students and explores how adverse life experiences can impact their behavior in the classroom. The bulletin also offers strategies for creating trauma-informed classrooms. This bulletin and the associated webinar will be useful for youth practitioners across the board because integrating a trauma-informed approach into your program’s policies and procedures fosters resilience and recovery for the youth that you serve. This information may be especially relevant to mentoring practitioners implementing school-based or group mentoring models, since many of its recommendations – like its discussion of common classroom triggers, for example – can be applied to programs that bring young people and adults together regularly in groups.


Pickens, I.B., & Tschopp, N. (2017). Trauma-Informed Classrooms. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Published in NMRC Blog

Denver Children's Home

Denver Children’s Home, Bansbach Academy (DCH) is a Colorado Department of Education accredited facility-based school that serve students who have experienced trauma and have learning difficulties as a result. Because of the experiences of these youth, DCH strives to consistently and intentionally connect its youth with qualified adults who will work in the youths’ best interests. According to Marisa A. Murgolo, LCSW, who is DCH’s Director of Daytime & Community Based Programs, the Children’s Home emphasizes “exposing [youth] to adults who are safe and invested in their growth.”

In order to achieve this goal, DCH reached out to MENTOR Colorado’s Drew DeMarie. The Denver Children’s Home applied to receive no-cost Technical Assistance (TA) through the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC). “We wanted to develop a training protocol for mentors,” Murgolo says, “who will be working with children and adolescents with trauma backgrounds, mental health issues, and educational challenges.”

Denver Children's Home.jpgDeMarie used therapeutic crisis intervention practices and training materials based off MENTOR’s Element of Effective Practice in Mentoring (EEPM) Toolkit to develop guidance for DCH mentors. Through a combination of in-person trainings and phone and video conference calls, DeMarie collaborated with Murgolo and DCH’s Educational Director, Annie Haskins, to create two 3-hour training sessions for incoming mentors that would prepare them to meet the needs of DCH’s unique population. “Our students have special challenges, Haskins says. “Drew was skilled in helping us navigate their needs and build aspects of the program that weren’t possible prior to his involvement.”

Because of their NMRC TA, Denver Children’s Home has the resources to provide its mentors with guidance on best practices in trauma-informed mentoring and enhance the support it provides for its youth. As Murgolo and Haskins agree, “we have a training program for mentors that we feel confident about.”

“DCH now has some of the training tools to guide interested volunteers towards becoming trauma-informed, effective mentors,” DeMarie says.

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with the opportunity to request and receive no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests technical assistance, their request is assigned to a local or regional technical assistance provider within MENTOR's network of state and local affiliates and TA providers. New and emerging mentoring programs may benefit from technical assistance to help them design and implement programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, while existing or established programs may utilize TA to improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.

Learn more about Denver Children’s Home here, and MENTOR Colorado here. Submit a request for no-cost technical assistance for your youth mentoring program here.

Published in TA Spotlights
  • Description of Resource:

    This training toolkit provides information for Program Managers about the experiences of youth in the foster care system and tools to help them design mentoring programs that are responsive to their specific needs and experiences. The toolkit includes various modules with information on key topics related to mentoring for youth in foster care, as well as curricula and program development resources.


    To equip Program Managers with information and tools to help them implement mentoring programs that meet the needs of youth in the foster care system.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Programs serving youth in the foster care system.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:


    Key Personnel:


    Additional Information:

    This training toolkit is a part of the Mentoring Plus Workshop Series created by the EMT Group.

  • Resource Name:

    Foster Youth Mentorship Training for Program Managers


    The EMT Group for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs


    Dustianne North, M.S.W. and Brenda Ingram, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

    Date of Publication:


    Resource Type:

    Program Management Resources

  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be accessed freely online in PDF form, on the EMT website: http://www.emt.org/userfiles/FosterYouthSeries5.pdf

  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A

Foster Youth Mentorship Training for Program Managers

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

Friday, 19 August 2016 10:08

Fostering Healthy Futures Program

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on July 20, 2015

Program Summary

A preventative intervention for preadolescent youth recently placed in foster care due to child maltreatment, with an overall goal of improving child well-being. The program is rated Promising. Evaluation results suggest that the program significantly reduced mental health problems, and measures of dissociation. In addition, treatment group youths living in nonrelative foster homes at baseline were more likely to achieve permanency and experience fewer placements.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 12:37

Fostering Healthy Futures Program

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the Crime Solutions website.

In considering the key takeaways from the research on this program that other mentoring programs can apply to their work, it’s useful to reflect on the features and practices that might have influenced its rating as “Promising” (that is, a program that shows some evidence that it achieves justice-related goals when implemented with fidelity).

Blending mentoring with more clinical forms of support can be effective for children with serious needs.

As with other mentoring programs reviewed for CrimeSolutions, Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) provides youth with a blend of one-to-one mentoring and more direct clinical support, in this case a series of manualized and clinician-led skill-building group activities over 30 weeks. These skill-building group sessions provide some very targeted and important prevention strategies to youth who have been removed from their home and put into an often stressful foster care placement. Each week, groups of 8 children work with clinicians, trained facilitators, and mentors to engage in activities that build cognitive and behavior skills, with a particular emphasis on topics relevant to their current circumstance (e.g.; coping with loss, dealing with worry, forming healthy relationships, etc.).

Having this kind of focused clinician-led skills group training in addition to mentoring allows for mentors to focus on, well, mentoring. FHF asks the mentors to serve as more of the connective tissue of the program: providing recreational and fun-focused activities, helping youth navigate and get what they need from the other systems of care they find themselves in, reinforcing the skill-building, and even providing logistical support like transporting youth to the weekly skills groups.

In this model, mentors focus on making sure the child’s needs are being met during at least the initial stage of their journey through the child welfare system while also modelling healthy relationships and providing some moments of joy, positive interaction, and normalcy. The program may provide a weekly skills topic for the matches, but mentors have discretion in coming up with an activity that both provides opportunities to practice the skill and engages the mentee. Although the program uses social work and psychology graduate students as mentors, FHF is still allowing them to be mentors in the traditional sense. By doing so, the mentors are the glue that binds youth to the program to ensure that the group work is scaffolded by a caring, personal relationship.

However, it’s also worth noting that these mentors bring some skills that other programs’ mentors may not. As social work and psychology graduate students, these mentors may be more comfortable taking on some of these skill-building activities, advocacy, and service referral roles. Other programs that want to use mentors to support clinical work should think carefully about how to match the mentor role with the volunteers’ skills and abilities.

The power of a simple meal and a chance to feel normal.

One of the most potentially powerful aspects of the FHF model is that the group sessions end with a meal. The children, mentors, and clinicians all gather for a group meal where youth can talk about how they are doing and interact with other youth the same age going through the same thing. One can imagine that the chance to be around other children who have recently been placed in foster care must really normalize the experience and foster a sense that they aren’t in this alone. The meal replicates a common “family” experience while also providing an opportunity to talk with other youth who may be very much missing a sense of family. Reducing stigma and normalizing the experience of being in foster care are two of the main ways that FHF tries to mitigate the negative impact of being a ward of the state. It can be easy to overlook something as simple as a group meal among all the other compelling aspects of the program design of FHF. But in this case, and with these children, that group meal may be a critical part of the intervention and one that may well set the stage for the rest of the program components to work as well as they appear to.

Serving youth in the child welfare system requires a lot of mentor knowledge and support.

Although FHF does a good job of letting mentors be mentors, that doesn’t mean that those students are on their own. Mentors in the program, each of whom work with two mentees, get four hours of in-person support a week. Along with helping to ensure that the skills being taught are effectively reinforced, this support time can help mentors problem-solve around situations that have come up with their mentees, particularly around helping them navigate the many systems of care and institutions that the child is now dealing with as part of their placement. The mentors’ supervision also allows them to better understand what might be precipitating some of the children’s more challenging behaviors. Not every program serving youth in foster care will be able to provide this level of training and support. Yet, the design here is a reminder to those programs that mentors working with foster youth will need lots of support and guidance around helping youth navigate systems and access other supports. Regular meetings with clinicians or other support specialists can help ensure these mentors are up to the challenge of being there for these vulnerable youth.

Reducing placements and supporting permanency is a laudable goal for programs serving foster youth.

Based on initial evidence that the program reduces mental health problems including posttraumatic stress among foster youth, FHF next evaluated whether the program, in turn, produced meaningful differences in youths’ time and experience in the child welfare system. Based on the second evaluation referenced in the profile, it appears that the program resulted in meaningful reductions in placement changes as well as placement in residential treatment centers, especially for youth who were placed with a non-relative when entering the program. There was also some evidence that participating youth were also more likely to have found permanency (either through adoption or reunification with their family).

These findings have important implications from a policy perspective. The study authors note that the average cost of the typical residential treatment center placement in Colorado is over $30,000; the typical foster care placement over $12,000. If FHF can reduce the number of placements a child endures in the system, and by promoting permanency solutions, the program has the potential to save the state of Colorado (not to mention, of course, others in which it may be implemented as well in the future) considerable money over time. (Although it should be noted that there is some speculation that family reunification can also increase a youth’s exposure to risk over time, thus offsetting at least some of the cost-savings down the road.)

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of FHF is that it has achieved these positive outcomes without having any aspect of the program specifically directed at the youth’s parents or family. Although mentors interact with both caregivers and families of origin on a regular basis, there is no formal parent-training component. This intervention is built on the belief that preventing the mental health issues, feelings of stigma and isolation, and the emotional and behavioral problems that often accompany being a ward of the state will lead to changes in the overall child welfare experience. These are outcomes that any program serving foster youth should aim for and it is exciting to see a prominent role for mentoring in an intervention that clearly shows promise for achieving them.

For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 28, 2012

Program Summary

A comprehensive, multiyear initiative to reduce youth gang crime and violence through a combination of strategies. This program is rated Promising. It was associated with a significant decrease in the number of calls reporting shots fired and gang-related incidents in the target area. However, it did not have a significant effect on the number of calls reporting vandalism or gang or non-gang related serious violence incidents or on attendance levels of elementary, middle, or high schools.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Friday, 19 August 2016 11:12

Gang Reduction Program (Richmond, VA)

Evidence Rating: No Effects - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on July 09, 2012

Program Summary

A comprehensive, multiyear initiative to reduce gang crime and violence among youth through a combination of strategies. This program is rated No Effects. The program did not have a significant effect on drug-related incidents or offenses, serious violent incidents or offenses, or school dropout rates in the target area. Additionally, the program did not have a significant effect on gang-related incidents, school attendance, or graduation rates in the target area.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

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