A Taumatised and Traumatising System: Professionals' Experiences in Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Young People in the Care and Youth Justice Systems in Ireland.
McElvaney, Rosaleen. Tatlow-Golden, Mimi.
Published: June 2016
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 65 , p. 62-69
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It is well recognised that children and young people in the care and youth justice systems typically present with significant and diverse mental health needs. Much has been written about this challenging area of professional practice but the focus has been primarily on the young people themselves rather than professionals' experiences of working in this challenging context. In this study, focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with 26 professionals working in the care and youth justice services in Ireland, representing a range of disciplines, to capture professionals' perspectives of working in this field. A thematic analysis was conducted on the transcribed data. Professionals described frustration and helplessness in the face of what they perceived as inadequate system responses and poor interagency working. Their experiences are conceptualised here as reflecting a traumatised and traumatising system. The implications for practice emphasise the need for staff support through training, collaboration between agencies, and addressing vicarious traumatisation. (Author abstract)
mental health services; mental disorders; Ireland; crossover youth; juvenile delinquency; foster adolescents; childhood trauma; social workers attitudes; revictimization; child welfare reform