Youth Opportunity Foundation

YOF Partners Address Brain Injuries

Indianapolis-based Youth Opportunity Foundation (YOF) today announced a partnership with the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) to tackle the issue of traumatic brain injury in youth and its impact on their ability to be successful in life.

YOF brought together experts through its Clinical and Scientific Advisory Council to focus on addressing traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the juvenile justice system. It is through this relationship that YOF and NASHIA have decided to collaborate to provide resources to individuals with brain injury and their families.

The advisory council is developing a toolkit for identifying and managing traumatic brain injury in the juvenile justice system, and building an awareness campaign to educate service providers, government agencies, courts, parents, and caregivers about TBI in the criminal justice system. NASHIA will disseminate these important resources to tap an existing network of lead state government agencies, advocacy organizations, and state justice systems.

“Youth Opportunity Foundation has brought together an impressive group of experts to confront this problem. This is a great opportunity for NASHIA to contribute our decades of head injury experience and connections across the nation to effectively promote awareness and disseminate tools that will lead to better outcomes for young people with brain injury” said Judy Dettmer, Director of Strategic Partnerships for NASHIA

Research shows that young people who suffer a traumatic brain injury, including severe or even mild repeated concussions, are nearly 20 times more likely to interact with the juvenile justice system or be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for criminal misconduct disorder. In addition, screening shows that 50% of adolescents enter juvenile justice with a history of TBI. Without diagnosis and treatment of this underlying problem, 70% of brain-injured young people in the juvenile justice system will recidivate, often ending up incarcerated as adults.

“This is a problem that can no longer be ignored,” said Denny Armington, President of the Youth Opportunity Foundation. “It (TBI) is the root cause of many of the issues that hurt a young person’s chances of success in life, including difficulty in school, attaining and maintaining jobs, and interpersonal relationships as well as interaction with the law enforcement and the legal system.”