Theorizing Safety Informed Settings: Supporting Staff at Youth Residential Facilities [2019]

Each year approximately 48,000 youth are incarcerated in residential placement facilities (YRFs) in the United States. The limited existing literature addressing the workforce in these settings paints a complicated picture. The YRF workforce is highly motivated to work with legal system involved youth. However, YRF staff report high rates of burnout, job fatigue, and work‐related stress. The current paper proposes solutions to persistent problems faced by staff in these settings by integrating literature from criminology, organizational psychology, trauma‐informed care, and community psychology. In doing so, we highlight previously overlooked aspects of intervention for trauma‐organized settings and respond to recent calls for community psychologists to take a more active role in the adaptation of trauma‐informed care in community settings. We conclude by advancing three recommendations, drawn from setting‐level theory and inspired by the principles of trauma‐informed care, to transform YRFs.

Corianna E. Sichel, Esther Burson, Shabnam Javdani, Erin B. Godfrey
American Journal of Community Psychology, 13 February 2019