Theorizing Safety Informed Settings: Supporting Staff at Youth Residential Facilities

Corianna E. Sichel, Esther Burson, Shabnam Javdani, Erin B. Godfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-417
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Juvenile justice
  • Settings
  • Theory
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Workforce
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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