How we grow up impacts the adults we become. When we grow up with adversities- like facing discrimination and/or living in poverty and high crime neighborhoods- and without positive connections to people, places and activities in our community, our development is negatively affected: our brains and bodies literally change, making it harder for us to focus in school, sleep well, trust others, or make good decisions.
Often these challenges are the conditions that make young people vulnerable to being placed out of their home. Right now, more than half a million young people currently live in youth jails and prisons, psychiatric hospitals and group homes, or are disconnected from their parents, siblings and communities by being placed in foster care. Research shows that being placed outside of the home in and of itself is traumatic, and unfortunately many youth are further victimized while in placement.
The good news is that we can reverse the damage done by trauma and toxic stress. Brain research has discovered that not only are our brains developing into our mid-twenties, but that the damage caused by adversity can be repaired.