12Oct

Advocates for Alternatives to Youth Incarceration to Address Prevalence of Trauma and Need for System-wide Response

The prevalence of violence, physical abuse, neglect, loss, and other traumatic events experienced by justice systems-involved youth is the focus of a national web event on Oct. 21, noon-1:30 pm ET. According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), more than 80 percent of justice-involved youth report experiencing traumatic events often linked to substance abuse, depression, self-injury, conduct problems and other behaviors that increase the likelihood of justice system involvement.

The panel discussion is the latest in a series of On the Road to Unlocked! virtual discussions raising national awareness of alternatives to ineffective youth justice approaches that disproportionately harm Black and Brown youth. Unlocked! is sponsored by Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., a national nonprofit providing community-based alternatives to out-of-home placements, The Social Justice Initiative of Bryn Mawr College, and the National Human Services Assembly (NHSA).

Carly Baetz, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, moderator of the discussion, is a researcher whose work focuses on implementation of trauma-informed practices in the youth justice system. She is a member of the faculty at the Center for Trauma, Recovery and Juvenile Justice and co-chairs the Justice Collaborative Group and Attorney Workgroup of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She formerly served as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice in New York.

Kurtis (KURT) Palermo is Vice President, ROCA, a national nonprofit that provides community-based services for young people who have been victims or drivers of violence. Kurt, who started with ROCA as part of an AmeriCorps fellowship, is committed to providing community-based services and strongly believes through his work that change is possible.

Michael Muscadine co-founded East Oakland, California-based CURYJ, where he leads the Life Coaching/Community Healing Team, helping adults and youth getting out of prison and off probation find permanent housing and securing good employment. A community organizer and advocate for justice reform, he has served on workshops and panel discussions at Columbia University and the University of California Berkeley; testified before the California State Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color; and served as an Alliance of Boys and Men of Color Youth Policy Task Force. Muscadine facilitates activities inside juvenile hall and teaches ethnic studies in Oakland high schools and continuation schools.

Breon Hatcher is a Dream Beyond Bars Associate at CURYJ. An Oakland native who knows firsthand the experience of youth incarceration, Breon has been organizing with CURYJ since 2018 when he began advocating for a world without the violence and trauma he has endured. A life coach Breon has organized, co-hosted, presented and/or taken part in Oakland's Juneteenth Celebration, the Dream Beyond Bars Block Party and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Convening in Los Angeles. A 2019-20PYJI Youth Leadership Fellow, Breon was part of the Free Our Kids Coalition which was successful in stopping the costly renovation of a youth prison.

Monique Robbins, Program Director at Chicago YAP, where for 15 years, she has shaped lives of at-risk youth guided by a simple philosophy – “I care.” Robbins oversees community-based youth justice and child welfare programs and serves as one of the nonprofit’s Choose to Change (C2C) program leaders. A partnership with YAP and Children’s Home & Aid, C2C provides young people with a trauma-informed, sixth month program to help them develop healthy decision-making tools. Through a randomized controlled trial, researchers at the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab have found that C2C reduces violent-crime arrests by almost 50 percent and increases attendance in school by about a week.

Unlocked! virtual event participants will be able to submit questions throughout the discussion. Register for the event here.

Note: This event is co-sponsored by Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) for a maximum of 1.5 credit hours. Bryn Mawr College GSSWSR, as a CSWE accredited School of Social Work, is a pre-approved provider of continuing education for Social Workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists in Pennsylvania and many other states. 

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Kelly D. Williams,
Chief Communications Officer
kdwilliams@yapinc.org

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