Learn About At Risk Youth and What a Trauma Informed Care School Looks Like, from MAE At Risk Youth Education Professor & Author

December 23, 2020

It’s Not Just About At Risk Youth – How to Identify a Trauma Informed Care School

Anthony Dallmann-Jones, PhD

MAE At-Risk and Alternative Education Program Director


As the director of the 100% online Master of Art in Education in At Risk and Alternative Education at Marian University, Dr. Anthony Dallmann-Jones is a world renowned expert when it comes to at risk youth education and the identification of trauma informed care schools.

As such, the National Partnership of Juvenile Services requested his virtual presence at its October National Conference, with Dr. DJ delivering a presentation – available here – on his concept of trauma informed care schools and the role they play in at risk youth education.

Dr. DJ analyzes what a “caring school” truly looks like for both students and the adults in the at risk youth education arena, providing evidence as to why there IS a price tag for caring, but also a larger price tag for ignoring the baggage any at risk youth can bring to school on any given day.

The darkness of stress in learning environments is particularly relevant these days, but the sunshine of hope is a blossoming of attention being paid to training school staffs in, not only accepting the importance of the baggage students are bringing to school, but also to their own self-care, particularly in the arena of secondary trauma, a term Dr. DJ addresses along with:

What is Trauma?

Damage or injury, any experience that leaves a person feeling helpless, hopeless, and fearing for their life or safety – real or perceived. This can include:

  • Victim
  • Trauma witness
  • Relative of a victim
  • Professionals listening to a victim

What is resilience?

The ability to achieve positive outcomes mentally, emotionally, financially, socially and/or spiritually despite adversity.

At any point in time, an average of 30%-40% of at risk youth are living under extraordinary stress that they have no answer for. Rescuing and resilience are two different things – in other words, after rescuing at risk youth, then what?

Four Essential Factors for Resilience Building in At Risk Youth

  • Supportive and protective adult-children relationships
  • A sense of self-efficacy and perceived control
  • Adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities
  • Sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions

What is Secondary Trauma?

  • Secondary trauma is the emotional duress resulting from an individual being impacted by the firsthand trauma experiences of another.

Dr. DJ not only brings clarity to these terms, but also to the concepts of locus of controlstress, and – most importantly – the details of secondary trauma. He identifies a clear and proactive structure of what can be done to counteract secondary trauma by creating one’s own Self-Care Insurance Plan.

Some have described the presentation as being about learning to be your own source of sunshine.

In addition to viewing the presentation, professionals searching for at risk youth education or a trauma informed education degree can build their skills in approaching students with a traumatic past as well as also learning to manage their own stresses of working with an at risk youth population.