Lionheart Awarded Innovative Grant by CDCR

In April 2021, Lionheart was awarded an Innovative Grant by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). This grant marks Lionheart’s 6th straight Innovative Grant from CDCR (we have previously received funding to provide both Houses of Healing and Power Source to sites across the state). 

This 3-year grant enables Lionheart to provide both Power Source and EQ2 groups to youth and staff in two of California’s juvenile detention facilities, and is significant as CA recently voted to close all of its juvenile detention facilities by June 30th, 2023. Lionheart feels honored to be among the small group of organizations that were selected to provide this last round of programming to youth in detention, and to support staff during their transition out of DJJ. 

Power Source groups began Monday June 7th and are off to a fantastic start! Partnering with the amazing team at Self-Awareness and Recovery (SAR), a non-profit organization that aims to reduce recidivism rates and incarceration in the Sacramento region, we served 45 youth across four groups in one day! Groups will continue to run weekly via video call until it is safe to return to in-person. We look forward to beginning EQ2 groups with staff starting in the Fall. 

Daniel Antonio Silva (left), Co-founder and President of SAR, with fellow team members and volunteers.

Read on for a little more information about why Power Source was chosen! 

Why Power Source?

The majority of justice-involved youth have experienced complex-trauma, with some studies reporting prevalence rates as high as 95%1, 2. Research with juvenile offenders has shown that youth who reported histories of trauma were more likely to be gang involved, had a greater likelihood of reoffending, and were more likely to be classified as serious, violent, and chronic offenders by the age of 183, 4. Further, there is clear evidence that trauma exposure is linked to difficulties with emotional regulation, which in turn, leads to the externalizing and internalizing disorders often associated with offending behaviors5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Power Source is a resiliency-based, developmentally sensitive, trauma-informed group intervention that has been shown to strengthen youths’ self-regulation and reduce risk-taking behavior. PS is guided by a theoretical model that frames the interplay of emotional regulatory processes, and social, cognitive and mental health functioning as mediating factors in delinquent, offending and substance use behaviors10. PS has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and, following a 4-year investigation on the adolescent unit of Rikers Island, is currently the largest study investigating the effects of a mindfulness-based, cognitive-behavioral curriculum with incarcerated adolescents. PS groups have been used in a wide variety of settings serving justice involved youth including secure and non-secure detention, diversion programs, residential treatment, youth court schools, and youth in adult facilities. 

PS compliments and amplifies intervention approaches already used in DJJ settings such as those targeting substance use, anger management, and work readiness. The program is designed to increase emotional and self-regulation capacities (including stress and anger management) through mindfulness, restorative justice practices, and high-impact cognitive-behavioral skills. In addition, the program helps youth build peer selection and refusal skills, develop cohesive self-identities, explore positive future orientations, and examine family histories of trauma, abuse, neglect, incarceration and addiction that are correlated with offending behavior. Built around first-person stories from other youth, engagingly illustrated worksheets, and powerful videos, PS is highly accepted by youth. The PS workbook (filled with personalized coping strategies and self-regulation resources) also serves as a tangible asset for youth to take with them as they transition back into the community. 

For more information on the Power Source program, click here.

Research Cited

1: Abram, K. M., Teplin, L. A., Charles, D. R., Longworth, S. L., McClelland, G. M., & Dulcan, M. K. (2004). Posttraumatic stress disorder and trauma in youth in juvenile detention. Archives General Psychiatry, 61(4), 403-40.

2: Becker, S.P. & Kerig, P.K. (2011). Posttraumatic stress symptoms are associated with the frequency and severity of delinquency among detained boys. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40(5), 765-7

3: Baglivio, M. T., Wolff, K. T., Piquero, A. R., & Epps, N. (2015). The relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and juvenile offending trajectories in a juvenile offender sample. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 229-241.

4: Fox, B. H., Perez, N., Cass, E., Baglivio, M. T., & Epps, N. (2015). Trauma changes everything: Examining the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders. Child Abuse & Neglect, 46, 163- 173. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.01.011

5: Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 217-237. http://dx.doi. org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.11.004

6: Cabrera, J. & Linick, J. (2019). Aggression. In R. Gerson & P. Heppell (Eds.), Beyond PTSD: Helping and healing teens exposed to trauma (pp. 49-72). American Psychiatric Association.

7: Caspi, A. (2000). The child is father of the man: Personality continuities from childhood to adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(1), 158-172.

8: Cavanagh, M., Quinn, D., Duncan, D., Graham, T., & Balbuena, L. (2017). Oppositional defiant disorder is better conceptualized as a disorder of emotional regulation. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(5), 381–389. https://doi. org/10.1177/1087054713520221

9: Frick, P.J. Morris, A.S. (2004). Temperament and developmental pathways to conduct problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 54–68.

10: Van Goozen, S. H. Fairchild, G., Snoek, H., & Harold, G. T. (2007). The evidence for a neurobiological model of childhood antisocial behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 133(1), 149-182.