Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Carrie L. Buist

Second Advisor

Jacquelynn Doyon-Martin

Third Advisor

Jaclyn Cwick

Academic Year



With approximately 90% of justice-involved youth experiencing at least one traumatic event before entering the justice system, trauma-informed care has moved to the forefront of juvenile justice in recent years (Dierkhising et al., 2013). Trauma-informed care aims to capture and address the impact trauma has on youth. One area within the juvenile justice system that is critical to capturing these events in justice-involved youth are risk assessments. The current study aimed to address whether a Midwest state is using trauma-informed questions and incorporating aspects of intersectionality (gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and class) within practices directed at justice-involved youth. A content analysis of four risk assessments revealed that trauma-informed questioning was inconsistent among the risk assessments and there were no questions regarding concepts of intersectionality. Additionally, recommendations are provided on how to create more comprehensive risk assessments within the juvenile justice system.