This booklet, geared toward children ages 7-12 years, tells the story of a girl named Mitch who is a witness in a criminal court case and goes to federal court.
The story of Mitch is part of a series of materials for children who are participating in the justice system as victims or witnesses, created by the Center for Court Innovation’s Child Witness Materials Development Project with funding by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). Designed to support children during their involvement in the criminal justice and child welfare systems, this booklet’s target audience is American Indian and Alaska Native children, ages 7-12 years, who are facing experiences in the criminal legal system. The story follows Mitch as she prepares to testify at the federal courthouse; it focuses on normalizing and validating children’s feelings and experiences, teaching healthy coping and resilience-building skills, and explaining the roles of the people involved in the criminal justice system as well as court procedures. Throughout the story, children are prompted to acknowledge how they feel and are encouraged to perform several activities such as breathing and counting exercises, and a four-step muscle squeeze to help them relax. The story also includes a discussion of the medicine wheel and its significance.