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New PbS Issue Brief: What Youths, Staff and Families Say about Community-based Programs

 

About one-third of the nearly 60,000 youths in residential placement are in community-based programs. Research shows that youths’ experiences in residential facilities, positive connections to family and the quality of the staff-youth relationships impact youths’ behavior in custody and their likelihood of re-offending. Yet little is known about the quality of life, conditions and services provided in community-based programs.

PbS’ new issue brief—What Youths, Staff and Families Say about Community-based Programs—offers a unique national perspective about the safety, fairness, family-facility connection, staff-youth relationships, service and treatment plans and reentry preparations in community-based programs. PbS’ survey results are both comforting and surprising: only 4% of family members felt their child was not safe in the program, one-quarter of youths feared for their safety and 14% of staff feared for their safety. Families additionally reported that they participated in the development of their child’s treatment plan. Similarly, most youths said that they were able to give opinions about their service plans goals. This type of data provides information to better understand the program dynamics—and can only be found by asking the questions.

For more information on the perceptions of community-based programs, read the new issue brief. Also see PbS’ other issue briefs for data on isolation, staff perceptions, family involvement and more!

This article was originally published on the CJCA blog.

Friday, March 06, 2015 at 10:52 AM

March PbS Person of the Month

 

The March 2015 Performance-based Standards (PbS) Person of the Month honor goes to Chris Dorman from the Naselle Youth Camp in Washington state. Chris has worked at the Naselle Youth Camp for the past 18.5 years and has been involved with PbS since their candidacy in 2005. He is the longest standing PbS site coordinator in the state. In addition to his role as a PbS site coordinator, Chris is also a full-time mental health coordinator and a designated suicide prevention specialist.

Mr. Dorman originally set out on a career path in business administration with an emphasis on finance and accounting. It was not until he learned about a family member’s involvement with the juvenile population that made him realize what he truly wanted to accomplish in life. He states “I realized my heart was with kids and not with the prosperity that came with success in the financial services industry. I knew I could have a positive impact on their [kids] lives.” It is this same desire that continues to motivate Chris to continue in his current position. “I have the opportunity to be an adult that cares about them and can provide a service that improves their quality of life.”

Chris tells us that participation in PbS has impacted his position by reinforcing the importance of quality assurance and affirming that regardless of their current placement kids deserve the best quality of life possible.

Mr. Dorman was instrumental in the development and application of a statewide facility improvement plan, which focused on the automation of the youth record and improving the health screening process. Jennifer Redman, M.S., institution programs administrator, had this to say about Chris: “Mr. Dorman approaches his work with the end goal in mind; to provide youth treatment in a safe and healthy environment so they can reintegrate into their community with skills to be successful. He is a bright spot in the juvenile rehabilitation system.” Chris was also the coordinator of events for “Unity Day” at the facility which supported the PACER organization’s anti-bullying campaign. Staff and Youth wore orange clothing and participated in activities that focused on bullying prevention.

When he is not at work, Chris enjoys travel, fishing, coaching and exercising. In 20 years he hopes to be partially retired, doing volunteer work with a children’s hospital, attending sporting events and soaking up the sun! Congratulations and thank you Chris on your commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of your own.

This article was originally published on the CJCA blog.

Monday, March 02, 2015 at 11:01 AM

PbS Participants Find Creative Ways to Engage Youths

 

Juvenile facilities and programs find some creative ways to keep youths engaged. Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants have shared some of the things they have done including having a well-known artist teach at their facility and holding a TED Talk for the youths.

Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) in Indiana welcomed a well-known artist, Emanuel Martinez, to instruct their students at the facility. Martinez says he likes to encourage youths to have a more positive outlook on themselves and commends LJCF for incorporating art at the facility. This isn’t the first experience the facility has had with Martinez either. Back in 2012, Martinez created a mural at LJCF and last year, two youths at the facility won awards through a contest from Martinez’s organization, Emmanuel Project.

While LJCF keeps kids engaged through art, juvenile facilities in Ohio tried a different approach—having youths share their ideas and experiences through a TED Talk. TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, hosts an event every year called TEDx Youth Day for youths to participate in talks. The Ohio Department of Youths Services (DYS) participated for the first time last year with about 30 youths in attendance.

The event took place via video conferencing, allowing for communication among their three facilities. Twelve DYS youths talked during the two-hour event to share stories of their life as children, the actions that led them to their commitment at DYS and what they have learned while in our custody. Several of the youths displayed their talents by playing the guitar, breakdancing and reading poetry. The youths were grateful for the opportunity to participate in the TEDx Youth Day and expressed a desire to do it again next year.

Thanks to the PbS participants who shared the unique ways they engage youths in art and public speaking!

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:34 PM

PbS State and Agency Coordinators Training a Huge Hit Among Attendees

 

The Performance-based Standards (PbS) State/Agency Coordinators Training was a huge success for more reasons than just the sunny and warm location! The evaluations from our participants showed we met our goal of providing our attendees with information they can bring back to their jurisdiction. In fact, one attendee commented “Wonderful training! I am excited and can't wait to get back to implement some of the information!”

The excitement around our training was common among both newbies and veterans. One attendee who has attended previous trainings wrote “thank you for another outstanding conference” while a first-timer commented “loved it! Was so valuable to me and am going to talk with director about coming regularly.”

One of the biggest hits from our training were the workgroups where the attendees gathered into smaller groups discussing topics ranging from protecting against retraumatization to incentive-based behavior management. No matter which groups the attendees were in, nearly everyone agreed that they both contributed and learned something from their workgroups! One attendee commented “the workgroup sessions are very productive and a good way to exchange information and effective strategies.” Other attendees said they even wanted more time in the workgroups since so much great information is shared. We look forward to facilitating and inspiring more workgroups at our next training.

We were also really excited to see that participants are excited to be part of PbS’ 20th Anniversary celebration year and are inspired by the direction PbS is going for 2015! PbS is eager to share how far we’ve come in the past 20 years and where we plan to go next. Having amazing state and agency coordinators support us really helps us achieve our goals.

In addition to the attendees sharing their excitement about the training, many shared great suggestions for our next one including topics ideas for workgroups and what they would like to hear from other states.

We thank all of the attendees for their hard work and support at our most recent training and look forward to making the next one in August even better!

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 10:21 AM

PbS State and Agency Coordinators Gathered to Connect the Dots!

 

Performance-based Standards (PbS) kicked off its 20th Anniversary and held its first event of the year, the 2015 PbS State/Agency Coordinator Training in Long Beach, CA. The training, which involved about 70 juvenile justice leaders from over 30 states, aimed to help these leaders connect the dots between research, reform and results and engage them as leaders in PbS’ celebration of 20 years committed to treating youths in custody as one of our own. Attendees were welcomed Wednesday night with an outdoor reception at Hyatt the Pike to meet one another and get ready for the following days’ activities.

Executive Director Kim Godfrey commenced Thursday’s activities by getting participants enthused about PbS’ 20-year history and the evolution of PbS’ commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own. The welcoming address was followed by a panel presentation on trauma-informed care by great presenters:

The presentation stressed the importance and relevance of trauma-informed care in juvenile justice and how to sustain or improve upon current practices and policies in a trauma-informed way. The presenters kept the audience engaged by using video exercises and connecting to the facility level such as getting staff buy-in.

Following the panel presentation, participants joined workgroups to get into the details of implementing trauma-informed care: how to create a safe environment led by Velvet McGowan, SC; how to protect against re-traumatization led by Nancy Carter, MA; how to get staff buy-in led by Chris Blessinger, IN; tools to identify trauma led by Dr. Marrow; and how to address staff trauma led by Varney. The participants enthusiastically contributed to their workgroups; they suggested trainings, policies and practices that help tackle these topics and addressed the challenges, benefits and tips to implement them. Additionally, the workgroup participants suggested which PbS data elements help them monitor how they’re doing in that area. The workgroups enthusiastically shared the results of their discussion with the full group.

Next up on the agenda was a panel presentation on the PbS Goals, Standards and Blueprint Revisions for 2015. Godfrey and Akin Fadeyi, Implementation Director and PbS Coach, talked about the need and the process to review and revise the goals, standard and the blueprint document. PbS State Coordinators and PbS Board of Directors members McGowan and Tonya Wright-Cook, SD, described their involvement in a panel of field experts and practitioners that reviewed the goals and standards and their appreciation of the process. The presentation discussed the tweaks and changes to the goals and standards but the big moment came when project coordinator Lisa Martinek wowed participants by giving them their first look at the new easy-to-navigate blueprint that will be released later this year. Participants were eager to see the new document and even more eager to start using it!

After Russell Sanders, LA Florida Parishes, led an energizer activity, technology manager Brendan Donahue led a lively presentation and discussion about PbS’ newest technology, the kiosk. He talked about who should be involved with the kiosks, addressed concerns about Wi-Fi, explained the value and helped participants understand how to get the most out of their kiosks. Last, but certainly not least, participants were excited to see the next generation 10” kiosk.

When all the kiosk questions were answered, participants were asked to partake in specialized workgroups to close out the day:

  • Reg Garff, UT, led a discussion to help finalize the Family Survey for Detention and Assessment Centers which has been in pilot since May 2014;
  • Chris Blessinger, IN, and PbS Coach Al Lick guided a conversation with community-based programs that focused on what the programs consider the most important PbS measures to consider for a future report;
  • Tonya Wright-Cook, SD, led a discussion about the various incentive-based behavior management systems, how to implement them, what works and what PbS data helps measure their success;
  • Judy Davis, IL, focused her group’s discussion on trainings, practices and policies that are unique and helpful for female programs; and
  • Marie Swope, MO, and PbS Coach Barbara Chayt reviewed PbS data that helps facilities monitor and prevent sexual victimization; this in-depth discussion will help guide a new PbS report. The day concluded with the workgroups sharing their findings; there was a lot of interest in the topics and the only complaint was more time to discuss them!

The final day of training featured the Spotlight Session where our participants shared stories of their successes. The Spotlight Session was brought back by popular demand after last year’s reviews:

  • Penny Sampson, NH, gave us an update on her agency’s work eliminating isolation and room confinement in New Hampshire, why their agency focused on this, what’s happened over the last year, struggles and successes;
  • Emil Fischer, Riverside County, CA, shared how his agency revamped their incident reporting system and created a strong database which allows them to look at records in detail across facilities and evaluate trends continuously through the use of an administrative dashboard;
  • Megan Milner, KS, talked about their work to change the facility culture from the adult corrections model to a more updated and current model of juvenile corrections; through improved staff communications and persistence, their team has seen a vast improvement in the culture backed up by PbS data that shows a downward trend in both youth and staff’s fear for safety;
  • Mike Both, PA, highlighted their work with the family initiative with Penn State and the Evidence-based Prevention & Intervention Support Center including a curriculum for families and how they can support their child’s treatment plan and how technology can enhance family involvement and visitation; and
  • Nancy Carter, MA, talked about how their facilities have used PbS’ improvement plans and data to work on Massachusetts’ strategic plan that focuses on Positive Youth Development and Family Engagement.

Each table also worked on an elevator speech- what they would say about PbS in less than 60 seconds? Each group targeted a particular audience and participants did a great job expressing what PbS does for practitioners, youths, legislators, agency administrators and leaders, media, families, communities and the public; this exercise reflected their level of excitement, understanding and appreciation for what PbS provides.

In between all the great presentations and workgroup activities, Jessica Moncada, ID, led partner exercises in which participants were able to share what their biggest challenges and successes have been, helping them “connect the dots” between agency leaders; they were happy to share and learned from each other’s successes while realizing that some of the same challenges exist no matter what state they’re in.

The training concluded with some laughs as Godfrey recognized Barbara Chayt for her time and dedication to treating all youths in custody as one of our own with a little roast. The participants are now looking forward to the next training in August which will celebrate the 20th Anniversary in a big way with the winners of the PbS Kids Got Talent Contest and the Barbara-Allen Hagen winners.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 2:23 PM

PbS Prepares for 20th Year Celebrations

 

We may not have had Sam Smith, Beyonce or Pharrell Williams, but our name was in lights and we had many, many stars from across the country join us to kick-off the Performance-based Standards (PbS) 20th anniversary Feb. 4 in Long Beach, CA. The 57th Grammy Award had nothing on us.

PbS has celebrations planned all year to mark 20 years dedicated to treating all youths in custody as one of our own and promoting a data-driven improvement model ground in research that holds systems of care to the high standards of operations, programs and services.

Some highlights coming up:

  • PbS Kids Got Talent Contest – all youths in PbS participating facilities are eligible to submit video and audio recordings of their talents; the winner will perform at the PbS 20th Anniversary Gala (all expenses paid.)
  • National PbS Day on June 5 – all PbS participating facilities will receive a “PbS Celebration Kit” to create a fun event to celebrate PbS successes and stories. We will collect and share pictures of the various celebrations from across the country.
  • PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award winner videos – the three winning facilities will receive a short video produced by PbS to honor the individuals and efforts that led to the winning improvement to facility quality of life and conditions of confinement.

Achieving 20 years of anything is very significant. Two decades have built the foundation for what’s ahead. For PbS, we are fully grounded in our values and mission to challenge juvenile justice agencies and facilities to achieve the best possible outcomes for youths, staff, families and communities. We have grown steadily over the years, developing PbS to meet the needs of the field and enhancing PbS to align with research and technology. We have a lot to celebrate and I look forward to a very special year of PbS.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 9:54 AM

February PbS Person of the Month

 

In order to find our February Performance-based Standards (PbS) Person of the Month, we had to travel to one of the furthest reaches of the United States – Nome, Alaska. There we found Stephanie Masters Johnson, Mental Health Clinician for the Nome Youth Facility, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Stephanie has been working at the facility for nearly eight years. After moving to Alaska with her husband ten years ago Stephanie had the opportunity to do some contracting work with the Nome Youth Facility. “I learned a great deal about youth in detention and the traumas they had faced in their lives through this work and began to increasingly understand how past traumas can drive behaviors.” When a full time clinician position was approved for the facility Stephanie made the transition to her current position.

Stephanie is passionate about bringing together families and communities, which is an integral part of the culture in the villages that the Nome Youth Facility serves. The biggest challenge Stephanie sees in her work today is gaining access to these families as the geographical area Nome serves encompasses approximately 37,000 square miles. However, one of the most rewarding aspects of Stephanie’s job is traveling to the villages to meet with families. “I appreciate the chance to learn from the youth and families about their culture, history and way of life.”

Stephanie has also been a champion of spreading the word about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) across Alaska. She has partnered with Iditarod Musher Aaron Burmeister who for the past two years has carried the FASD prevention and awareness message along the 1000 mile sled dog race. The 2014 message was “Alcohol and Families Do Not Mix…Mush On.” The promotional/educational materials were purchased by a small grant from the DJJ as well as a private donor.

Janice Shallcross, PbS Coach says of Stephanie: “She has been instrumental in implementing trauma informed-care at the facility. I have seen Stephanie’s interactions with both staff and youth and it is evident how well respected she is.” Stephanie credits PbS with helping the Nome Youth Facility see the areas of needed improvement, and providing a process to develop and track their success’.

When she is not working, Stephanie can be found in her own kennel of 23 sled dogs! “They are my pride and joy and provide the necessary balance between the demanding and emotional work we do and my own self-care.” The kennel is named after her home state of West Virginia – Almost Home Sled Dogs.

Congratulations to Stephanie on being February’s PbS Person of the Month, and mush on!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015 at 12:27 PM

PbS Participants Open Facility Doors

 

Holding an open house at a juvenile facility can have a profound impact; it gives parents of the youths at the facility an opportunity to see how the facility operates, meet with teachers and see their child’s work firsthand. Opening facility doors also allows important members of the community such as a state’s governor to visit the youths!

The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Facility Complex (KJCC) recently held their first open house, where youths had the opportunity to show off their schoolwork and introduce their parents to their teachers at the facility's newly-renovated Lawrence-Gardner High School (LGHS).

“Parents and caregivers of juvenile offenders in placement away from home or in a correctional facility are often unable to participate in the educational experience,” said KJCC Deputy Superintendent Megan Milner. “They are invited to program planning conferences and even [Individualized Education Program] planning sessions, but it’s not normal to see parents roaming the halls of school or casually meeting with the individuals teaching their child.”

School staff volunteered to come in on a Saturday so the open house could coincide with KJCC’s regular visitation times. Family members were grateful to see their children’s work and hear about their progress and were also able to view projects built in the construction program.

In addition to family members coming to the facility, somebody like the governor of the state could also stop by. This was the case at the Stevenson House in Delaware. Governor Jack Markell and Cabinet Secretary Jennifer Ranji toured the facility and visited youths in the classrooms and living units. Youths were given an opportunity to ask questions and some asked questions pertaining to education and jobs, expressing sincere interest in their futures. The youths were receptive to the information provided by the Governor and appreciated him making the time to visit the Stevenson House Detention Center. This opportunity allowed the youths to realize their voices and opinions are being considered, that they are a true part of the community.

Thanks to the Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants who shared their stories!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Friday, January 30, 2015 at 1:15 PM

PbS Perspective: Decreasing Isolation and Positive Family Results

 

As PbS reflects on the past 20 years, we realize that looking at data is the first, fundamental step to positive change and reform and are eager to share what we have learned. Twice a year juvenile justice facilities participating in Performance-based Standards (PbS) collect qualitative and quantitative data in a wide range of facility operations including safety, order, security, education, programming, fairness, positive youth development, connection to family and community and health and behavioral health.

PbS Perspective January 2015 is the first in a series of publications that offers a snapshot of the conditions of confinement and quality of life in secure facilities. This Perspective offers aggregate data from October 2014 in important areas of juvenile justice. Even though the data presented in the Perspective shows you just a small portion of everything we collect, the information paints an informative picture of facility life and gives you an idea about priorities and the current state of juvenile facilities.

Reducing isolation has been a priority for PbS; research shows that the use of isolation impacts the safety and security of youths and can lead to higher rates of suicide. The focus has paid off; since October 2010 the average duration of isolation has decreased for correction, detention and assessment facilities. This is a true testament to how our participants use their data to make tremendous improvements in their facility!

More recently, PbS began focusing on family, launching the Family-Youth Initiative in 2012 to help our participants strengthen connections between staff, youths and families. The October 2014 collection marked the first time the family survey was available to all correction facilities to distribute to youths’ family members and the results are positive. Most family members feel respected and valued and staff help family members stay in contact with their child.

These are only a few of the highlights from the PbS Perspective. To learn more about trauma, education, staff training and support data, read the PbS Perspective or our issue briefs, which delve more into specific topics such as isolation and trauma-informed care.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 1:46 PM

Reflections on 20 Years’ Improving Conditions of Confinement

 

It was 20 years ago the Congressionally-mandated Conditions of Confinement Study prompted the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to launch the Performance-based Standards (PbS) project to address and improve the unsafe, too often dangerous, largely ineffective and unresponsive deep-end facilities responsible for young offenders. While many fewer youths now are placed in facilities, they remain a staple in our justice system and the approximately 70,000 youths incarcerated need and deserve our collective efforts to treat them like one of our own.

That has been PbS’ mantra since 1995: we are committed to treating all youths in custody as one of our own. It has guided us to create national standards and outcome measures that challenge juvenile justice agencies to provide the highest quality operations, programs and services and to provide the field with tools to measure and monitor their work using outcome measures and data. We have been very fortunate to have had federal support for about 11 years and to have established an effective and meaningful data-driven improvement model strong enough to transition to a self-sustaining fee-for-service non-profit. We have a lot to celebrate and are planning to celebrate a lot in 2015.

We also are going to share what we have learned from our data, which is probably one of the largest, timely, uniform and comprehensive available describing conditions of confinement both from quantitative administrative data and qualitative descriptive data from surveys of youths, staff and families. PbS data looks at facility safety, order, security, education, programming, fairness, positive youth development, connection to family and community and health, mental health, substance use, trauma and reentry treatment and services. We are not a research organization but believe the aggregate PbS data is the best available showing how youths in custody are treated and describing the cultures and climates in residential placement. The data comes from about 200 facilities in 32 states who by choice join us in our commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own; what happens in the remaining facilities is mostly unknown, unreported and/or unverified so there is no control or comparison group. And my guess, until proven otherwise, is that PbS facilities are better places for youths.

We know from our work over the past 20 years that looking at data is the first step to positive change and reform. With all this in mind, I hope you read the first publication of our 20th year, reflecting on the most recent PbS data (October 2014): PbS Perspective.

This article was also published on the CJCA blog.

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 2:16 PM

January PbS Person of the Month

 

Congratulations to our January PbS Person of the Month, Tonie C. Pringle from Midlands Evaluation Center (MEC) in Columbia, South Carolina!

Tonie Pringle aka Mama P. has been working at the Midlands Evaluation Center for five years. As a former site coordinator she initiated a very successful mentoring program whereby specific staff and youths were linked together by personality types. This would not be a surprise to anyone that knows Mama P.—mentoring kids in her community is what brought her to a career in juvenile justice.

She is motivated by her personal experience. As Tonie explains, “My son was lost to the system from me working all the time as a single mother. He told me I could make a difference in other children’s lives and give them values, love and understanding.” It is this kind of loving attitude that she brings to the youths at Midlands Evaluation Center which earned her the nickname of Mama P. “To have troubled youth of all age and race come through the doors of Midlands and see you as a mother figure WOW!” In fact her proudest accomplishment at work is having helped to develop a family atmosphere at the center.

Tonie credits PbS with giving her the freedom to be able to work more with the youths and educate them on having a positive manner which will receive a positive response. PbS also helps her motivate and encourage staff members when times seem hard with handling challenging youths.

PbS Coach Dave Crowley had this to say about Tonie: “I know she contributed so much toward very improved staff- youth relations at MEC. The improved results were seen in the climate surveys. Tonie is one of those humble, extremely dedicated workers dedicated toward improving the possibilities of future success of the youths there. She finds it difficult to accept credit for what she sincerely believes is just her job.”

When Tonie isn’t at work she enjoys going to church, doing community service and socializing with her sisters. In 20 years she hopes to still be Mama P. to her community and to her grandkids.

Congratulations again to Mama P. on being the January PbS Person of the Month and thank you for your commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of your own.

This story was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Friday, January 02, 2015 at 11:09 AM

PbS Participants Celebrate the Holidays

 

Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants are helping youths and staff get into the holiday spirit by organizing various activities and events.

The Christmas Choir at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana performed traditional Christmas Carols for staff and students at its annual holiday event. The staff and students greatly enjoyed the event, which was held by the Religious Services Department and led by Chaplain Connie Hedges.

Youths at the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility also assisted the Salvation Army with their annual Christmas food basket and gift drive, which provides food and gifts for families in need in the Cass County Indiana area. This year the program gave away frozen turkeys, chickens and dry goods, as well as dolls, games, bicycles, clothing and baby supplies to 240 families. The students from the facility assisted in collecting and delivering the items to the selected families.

Green Hill School in Washington held its annual Family Holiday celebration. Over 300 family members of youths residing at Green Hill School participated in a day of festivities including a holiday meal, holiday pictures with youth and families and an afternoon of visitation and games. One visitor who sponsored a youth said “I enjoyed attending the holiday event at Green Hill on Saturday. The young man I was paired with was very receptive that I had taken the time out of my day to attend this.” This person was so moved by the event that she asked how she could be a volunteer at Green Hill School.

Youths at the female juvenile unit at the Juvenile Corrections Center- St. Anthony in Idaho participated in the Giving Tree project. The youths made ornaments for trees that were up at several local businesses. Each ornament has a gift tag attached with the desired gift, donors remove the ornament and return it to the tree with the desired gift. The youths helped deliver all of the wrapped gifts to the families and learned the true meaning of service to others. This is the third year that the youths have been participating in the project and it has been getting bigger each year.

Staff and youths at the Camp Summit Boot Camp in Indiana participated in numerous community service projects for the holiday season. Youths assisted the Salvation Army by stocking shelves and stuffing food items in the backpacks for school kids to have meals on weekends. Volunteers also helped the “Deserving Children’s Shopping Tour,” by setting up for the event which provided 350 children with Christmas gifts this year. Additionally, staff and youths went caroling at several nursing homes in the areas and delivered food donated by staff to the Good Shepherd Food Pantry.

Thanks to the PbS participants who shared their holiday events and helped get staff and youths in the holiday spirit!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 11:59 AM

PbS Participants Partner with the Community

 

Participants in Performance-based Standards (PbS) partner with community organizations to help youths and their families, allow youths to participate in volunteer activities and bring community members’ skills and knowledge to the facilities.

The Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services has partnered with the Food Bank of Delaware to help families in need. The Kraft Mobile Pantry travels to the Stevenson House Detention Center when the facility has family engagement events to provide food for families that qualify for the service. Additionally, youths residing at Grace, Snowden, and Mowlds Cottages can participate in the Food Bank’s Backpack program, which provides a backpack of non-perishable food items for the youths to bring home to their families on the holidays and weekends.

Youths from the Cottages also have the opportunity to volunteer at St. Stephen’s food pantry on a weekly basis. The youths unload frozen and dry food products from trucks and store the items inside the food pantry. They also help prepare and bag multiple food orders for people in the community. This program helps develop the youths’ interpersonal skills, organizational skills and teaches the value of helping others.

STAR Academy in South Dakota brings community members to the youths by hosting a volunteer guest speaker at least once a month that has a positive, unique message to share with the youths and introduces the youths to a topic they may be unfamiliar with. Two volunteers that frequently visit STAR Academy are Peg Ryan and Pastor Matt Furse. Peg Ryan teaches yoga at STAR Academy, which provides tools to help with relaxation and managing stress and hopes the youths will use the yoga skills wherever they are. Pastor Furse says “being involved in STAR is not only rewarding for the difference we can make in the lives of the youth, but also in seeing the difference the youth make in the lives of our volunteers as well.”

When youths at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing achieve Level 4 they are eligible to go off grounds to participate in service learning activities, such as visiting an apartment complex for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Youths interact with residents of the apartments, serve meals and then cleanup the dining area, dishes and kitchen. The community members always greet the facility youth with smiles and a round of applause to show appreciation of the youths’ service. This opportunity allows youths to practice social skills in a real-life setting and teaches employment-related skills. Following the service learning activity, youths reflect on what they learned, what was challenging, how it made them feel and suggestions for future activities with the community.

Thanks to all PbS participants who shared how they get involved in the community!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM

PbS Participants Celebrate Halloween with Youths and Staff

 

Youths love Halloween and several Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants found several ways to celebrate Halloween with games, events and contests.

Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) in Kansas held a "Total Black Out" event on Halloween eve. Those who wanted to participate were blindfolded and guided by staff to three stations that had four mystery boxes featuring an unknown substance that the youths could only touch, smell or taste. Participants reached inside a box with the goal of identifying its contents using only one of their senses. The youths were timed during the event and those from the housing unit with the best times were treated to a movie and treats on Halloween.

The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) also celebrated Halloween by holding an employee-sponsored trunk or treat event that gives spouses and children an opportunity to visit the facility. The event has grown through the years to include clowns who twist balloons into colorful animals and funny hats, a picture booth, a petting zoo, face painting, carnival games, a cakewalk and food.

Lincoln Pines Youth Center in New Mexico held a Halloween coloring and story contest. One staff member wrote a lead sentence to start a story, which the youths then complete. The facility also held a coloring contest for those youths who prefer art to writing. Two awards were given out: one for the best story and one for the best pictures. The youths responded wonderfully to the event with many story and picture entries!

Thanks to the PbS participants who shared their stories!

This story was originally published on the CJCA blog.

Monday, November 24, 2014 at 1:28 PM

PbS Responds and Takes First Steps to Measure and Monitor Trauma-Informed Care

 

As so eloquently stated by the co-chairs of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, not only are we ready to begin to prevent, reduce and treat children’s exposure to violence, but we must do it now.

The 2012 report entitled: “Defending Childhood, Protect, Heal, Thrive” along with numerous research studies showing that most of the youths in the juvenile justice system have been exposed to violence and/or are living with trauma and traumatic stress was a wake-up call for action. The sixth section of the Task Force report Rethinking Juvenile Justice provided specific recommendations for the field and many dedicated leaders and professionals across the country have taken the recommendations to heart. They have developed resources, spread solutions and changed practices to address children’s exposure to violence.

Performance-based Standards (PbS) also has taken the first step to measure and monitor the implementation and impact of this work. As experience makes clear, effective and sustainable reform requires data, continuously used to evaluate how we treat youths, staff and families in contact with the juvenile justice system.

Thanks to a collaboration with trauma experts and youth correction professionals in Maine, funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PbS expanded its survey of youths to include questions that collect descriptive data on youths’ experiences related to trauma-informed care, services and treatment. The same experts, joined by more from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Center on Institutions and Alternatives and other national child-serving organizations are helping PbS integrate additional ways to collect and analyze information to show if the trauma-informed care training, screening, assessment, services, developmentally-appropriate practices and staff-youth relationships are working. It is as important to know the impact of the work as it is to do the work. The last thing anyone wants is to make a difficult or painful situation worse.

PbS shares the results of the youths’ responses in the issue brief: “First Step to Integrate Trauma-Informed Care: Ask Youths.” PbS facilities survey youths, staff and families and report the results twice a year. We hope the first responses provide a starting point from which many, many more resources, solutions and best practices emerge.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Trauma-Informed Resources Available at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health

 

The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health provides several resources on trauma-informed child-serving systems. Among the resources is an issue brief and video interviews from individuals who provide background information and share lessons they have learned. For more information and to access the resources, visit the “Module 2: Trauma-Informed Child-Serving Systems” webpage.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Barbara Allen-Hagen Awards Ceremony Highlights Best Work from Facilities and Programs

 

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”

The 2014 Performance-based Standards (PbS) Barbara Allen-Hagen Awards ceremony held last week in Chicago was an awesome celebration of individuals working together to operate programs for young offenders that treat all youths in custody as one of our own. Barbara Allen-Hagen, the program manager at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), US Department of Justice when PbS was launched about 20 years ago and who the award was created for upon her retirement from OJJDP, would repeat the “good, better, best” phrase as our guiding mantra during the development of PbS’ goals, standards and data-driven improvement model. It stuck. The three winning facilities for 2014: the Youth Opportunity Center in Muncie, IN; the Worcester Secure Treatment Center in Westborough, MA and the Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center in Grand Forks, ND all made their good work better and then best.

I think Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs basketball star who usually is credited with making the “good, better, best” phrase popular, would be pleased.

Duncan is considered one of the greatest players in basketball history for always improving from good to better to best: Not one but five-time NBA championships, NBA All-Star 14 times, Rookie of the Year in 1998 and NBA Player of the Decade in 2009, with dozens of other wins and awards in between. However it’s his off-court work through the Tim Duncan Foundation supporting nonprofit organizations working to improve education, youth sports and recreation and health awareness and research that makes me think he’d join us celebrating the 2014 PbS Barbara-Allen Hagen winners. He is continually working to make things better and best by giving back to his community.

Please join me in congratulating the work of the 2014 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen winners:

  • The Youth Opportunity Center PbS team made significant philosophical and cultural change that resulted in better staff-youth relationships and the best outcome for punitive isolation: zero uses.
  • The Worcester Secure Treatment Center PbS team built on research and created opportunities to engage family members in youths’ development and treatment, which resulted in families describing the facility setting not only as inviting but also “normal… not like a lock up” – probably the best description possible.
  • The Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center PbS Team worked together to address misbehavior collaboratively, with sensitivity to youths’ trauma and stressors and being more present for the youths. The result was an environment of caring and positive change and youths feeling they were treated fairly, the best for facility safety and deterrence from future criminal behavior.

Like Duncan, Barbara Allen-Hagen learned the phrase from her mother and it stuck with her such that she dedicated her professional work to making juvenile justice better and best for the youths, staff, families and communities served. Thank you to leaders like Barbara and Tim for challenging us to continually do things better, and thank you to their mothers and others who inspire us all to do our best.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Wisconsin Division of Juvenile Corrections Participates in Blended Learning Initiative

 

The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternatives Settings (CEEAS) selected the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), Division of Juvenile Corrections (DJC) to participate in a 15-month education reform initiative known as the Blended Learning Initiative (BLI).

The goal of the initiative is to implement comprehensive blended learning models, which combine face-to-face teaching with online instruction to improve student engagement and learning, at schools operating in long-term, secure juvenile facilities.

BLI emphasizes peer support and collaboration and directly confronts the isolation that many educators working in secure settings feel. CEEAS will facilitate communication among the participating agencies using the Edmodo platform, allowing teachers and administrators from around the country to work together, share ideas and support each other.

“Our department is excited to have the opportunity to participate in this initiative,” said the Wisconsin DOC Secretary, Ed Wall. “This initiative enhances our staff’s ability to help these youth succeed by teaching them valuable skills they can use when they return to their communities.”

DJC operates Copper Lake Girls School and Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma, Wis. The secured juvenile correctional facilities have certified teachers that provide individualized educational services to youth with wide ranges of learning abilities. Many of these students have failed in or are significantly behind in traditional school settings. In order to enhance the educational service delivery, teachers and various staff within DJC will participate in several components of the 15-month initiative.

The first phase of the initiative began in July when DJC sent four teachers, a supervising youth counselor and an administrator to a multi-day technology camp.

The camp included an iPad academy and lessons on how to utilize specific apps in their classrooms, including Tellagami, Trading Cards, Wordle, PhotoCard, ScreenChomp, Thinglink and many more. They also learned about Edmodo, an online educational platform for organizing lessons, posting assignments, offering polls and sharing videos.

“Blended Learning will transform education for the youth at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools, by utilizing Internet and technology and equipping them with skills needed for the 21st Century,” said Education Director Wendy Peterson. “Helping youth transition back into their communities as responsible digital learners while bridging their learning is one of the goals.”

Teachers began implementing the new technology tools and lessons in September and have received positive feedback from students on the initiative.

“Blended learning is a better way for us to experience things,” according to one student. “We have a better way of experiencing things instead of always doing things on paper, the old school way. Maybe we can get somewhere further in life with the new technology.”

“What I like most working on the computers is it gives us a chance to expand our learning and gives us more detail in our work and way for us to try something different other than book work,” stated another student. “It will help a lot of the youth here, because it’s a different type of learning and they are not really used to learning with technology, so it will them in their future.”

The DJC and DOC Bureau of Technology Management have collaborated to create tiered levels of internet accessibility and security to foster the learning of students. The teaching staff at DJC has set goals based upon this support. The goal during the next few years is to help our students bridge the gap in their learning and keep them moving forward and become successful as they return to their communities.

Longer term, the blended learning team plans to incorporate the use of web applications such as wikis and blogs, upload lectures and videos to iPads and utilize Google. They also hope to apply a form of blended learning referred to as flipped classrooms, in which teachers and students switch roles. BLI will also link living units to the education program, so students can learn outside typical school hours.

In January, DJC will roll out a student information system, Infinite Campus, which will encourage more communication between parents, students and teachers.

DJC is excited about being selected for this innovative approach as we move forward utilizing technology to improve youth outcomes and ultimately, a safer State of Wisconsin.

“The Division of Juvenile Corrections is honored to have been selected for this initiative,” said DJC Administrator Cari Taylor. “This opportunity will further improve access, skills and resources for staff in order to deliver state of the art educational services and increase student success within the classroom.”

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 at 9:56 AM

PbS Announces Winners of the 2014 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

 

Oct. 3, 2014

For Immediate Release:

Braintree, MA: The PbS Learning Institute is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award, honored Thursday night at a ceremony in Chicago. The award recognizes facilities for young offenders that best exemplify the core principal of the Performance-based Standards (PbS) program: treat all youths in custody as one of our own. Three winners were selected representing three different types of residential facilities: correction, detention and community-based.

“The winning facilities show how successful and sustainable juvenile justice reforms combine leadership, commitment, creativity and resources,” said PbS Learning Institute Executive Director Kim Godfrey. “The winners addressed difficult culture changes: reducing isolation, integrating families into youths’ rehabilitation and creating a team approach to discipline to eliminate youths’ sense of unfairness and build positive staff-youth relationships. All succeeded. They are inspirations for all of us.”

The 2014 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award winners are:

Worcester Secure Treatment, Westborough, MA Worcester Secure Treatment was selected as the correction facility winner for building strong ties with families. According to Assistant Program Director Patrick Smith: “PbS has been a tool for the team at Worcester Secure Treatment to continually evaluate our daily work environment and assess how we can collaboratively use our resources to continue building the most safe and effective work environment for our residents and staff.”

Youth Opportunity Center, Muncie, IN Youth Opportunity Center was selected as the detention center winner for shifting its behavior management philosophy to incentivize youths and reward positive behavior and significantly decreasing the use of isolation. Director of Detention Services David Dickerson explained, “PbS challenged us to raise our standards of care… The atmosphere in the facility has improved tremendously with more positive interactions between youth and staff.”

Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center, Grand Forks, ND Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center was selected as the community-based program winner for improving youths’ perceptions of staff fairness and creating an environment of caring and positive change. Program Director Bryon Novotny said, “The role of [PbS] has been dramatic. It provided our program a systematic way to assess a number of important program areas.”

PbS is a data-driven improvement model used in 32 states to ensure the highest quality of life for young offenders in residential facilities. PbS gives agencies the tools to gather data and analyze the results to make improvements in facilities. The program was launched by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 1995 and is operated by the PbS Learning Institute (PbS Li).

Friday, October 03, 2014 at 8:13 AM

PbS Participants Teach Youths Important Skills and Recognize their Achievements

 

There are many skills that can help youths succeed when they leave the juvenile justice system including independent living, good sportsmanship and healthy relationships with their community. PbS participants have shared some of the ways they teach youths these important skills and how they recognize the youths’ efforts.

Nome Youth Facility in western Alaska uses a donated PlayStation 3 and NBA 2K14 to teach residents sportsmanship and coping skills. Some residents allowed themselves to become distraught after losing a video game when they first earned the privilege to play. Juvenile justice officers have been working with the residents on enjoying the game they are playing, shaking hands afterwards in victory or defeat and getting in line to play again without allowing a loss to ruin their mood or acting too boastful after a win. Displays of poor sportsmanship result in the privilege to play being revoked. Since the attention has been placed on sportsmanship by staff members, friendly competition has increased dramatically and although some residents still get down immediately after losing, they are quick to rebound and move forward.

The New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families holds an annual conference for employees and stakeholders, which features artwork created by youth at Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC). This artwork gives attendees an opportunity to see the creativity and strengths of the youth at SYSC, as well as providing decorations for the conference. In addition to the artwork exhibition, youth at SYSC created all the centerpieces for the tables at the award ceremony. SYSC also recognizes up to 18 students each month to receive a special award from one of their teachers. These students are acknowledged for a variety of reasons including excellent behavior, attitude and effort, excellent grades or even a combination of both. They are recognized for their achievement during a ceremony where they receive a certificate, photographs to share with their families and to place on a Student of the Month bulletin board. Families and staff are invited to attend the ceremony to congratulate these deserving students and to partake in a celebration breakfast.

The Wisconsin Division of Juvenile Corrections (DJC) recently opened The Grow Academy, an agricultural science-based curriculum and an experiential education approach that supports delinquent male youths in achieving important educational, developmental and restorative justice goals. The academy’s garden grows vegetables including broccoli, beans, lettuce, onions, carrots and peppers and a fruit tree orchard producing apples, plums and pears. The Grow Academy helps participants work towards high school completion, incorporate pro-social attitudes into relationships and the community, learn skills that have meaning for future academic and career pursuits along with healthy independent living and give back to the community by providing tangible resources for people in need.

Thanks to all the PbS participants who shared their stories!

This story was originally featured on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, October 02, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Finalist Spotlight: Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center in Grand Forks, ND as one of the three finalists in the community category. Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center was selected as a finalist for their Improvement Plan (IP) developing a team approach to improve youths’ perceptions of staff fairness and creating an environment of caring and positive change.

In October 2012, only 38% of the youths were reporting that staff were fair about discipline issues. The staff realized that this could lead to safety issues, more youth misbehavior, retribution, thoughts of self-harm or escape. The team shared the data with staff and discussed it at a monthly all-staff meeting. The discussion identified situations and approaches that could cause the perception of unfairness: inconsistency interpreting the rules, communication gaps and power struggle issues. As a result, RMATC launched a team approach to discipline that both separates the staff member from the heat of the moment and provides him/her with feedback before making a decision resulting in discipline. In April 2014, 89% of youths reported staff are fair about discipline issues.

One staff member writes “the team concept, embracing cooperation and collaboration, being more trauma informed and being directly present (physically and mentally) with the adolescents has helped create an environment of caring and positive change.”

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM

New Opportunity for Jurisdictions Seeking to Improve Outcomes for Dual Status Youth

 

Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, led by Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps, is pleased to announce a new Dual Status Youth Technical Assistance Initiative providing support to four competitively selected jurisdictions to improve outcomes for youth and families involved in their child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This project is jointly supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur Foundation). The technical assistance provided by the RFK National Resource Center guides jurisdictions through a process of multi-system collaboration and innovation that yields meaningful and sustainable results in both human and fiscal terms. Interested jurisdictions can find more information as well as application materials at www.rfknrcjj.org.

Questions can be directed to John Tuell, Executive Director, at jtuell@rfkchildren.org.

This post was retrieved from the National Youth Screening & Assessment Project.

Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Finalist Spotlight: Center for Human Development Assessment Program

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce the Center for Human Development Assessment Program (CHD) in Springfield, MA as one of the three finalists in this year’s detention category. This facility was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) to reduce the use of physical restraints.

In 2009, CHD noticed that their use of physical restraints was almost five times greater than the field average and committed themselves to reducing their use of physical restraints. The team realized that many of the restraints were used on residents with mental illness that required “significant staff intervention.” Over the next several years, their team brainstormed ideas to reduce restraints and got feedback from the youths about program climate. CHD’s team established a review process for every restraint use, implemented in-service trainings to improve responses and added more programming for youths including more physical exercise. Additionally, the facility has worked to boost morale through its staff of the month recognition for positive relationships with youths and a resident of the week award for the youths. As a result of their efforts, CHD has seen a significant reduction in restraint use and the team continues to work on reducing restraints.

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Finalist Spotlight: Worcester Secure Treatment

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce Worcester Secure Treatment (WST) in Westborough, MA as one of the three finalists in this year’s correction category. This facility was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) focused on building strong ties with families.

While revising its behavior management system to focus on positive incentives and a culture that recognizes and builds on youths’ strengths, the WST team realized youths needed more access to their families. At the same time, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) set a strategic planning goal for all facilities to use families as partners in youths’ treatment planning. WST combined the two efforts to bridge the gap between youths and their families and between families, staff and community partners.

WST looked at the research showing youths’ access to families is critical to their success and began offering additional visitation times for families and opened visitation to non-parental family members and other adults in the community who support the youths. WST offered clinical family sessions to all youths with flexible scheduling to accommodate their families. Lastly, WST established monthly family events that provide time for families to spend quality time with youths and staff. To engage as many families as possible, the times and days vary and dates are set well in advance. WST collects feedback from families and youths for future events and has learned what really works is the sense of normalcy families feel with better relationships with staff. “Families have engaged in these events regularly, reporting to staff during them that they forget the setting they are in because it has become inviting, and feels more ‘normal’ versus feeling like a ‘lock up’,” explained Patrick Smith, PbS Site Coordinator.

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Finalist Spotlight: Bennington School

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce Bennington School in Bennington, VT as one of the three finalists in the community category. Bennington School was selected as a finalist for their Improvement Plan (IP) to reduce the number of restraints and increase the number of youths who understand the rules and their rights.

Using PbS data, Bennington School recognized that their restraint ratio was high compared to similar community-based programs and that a low percentage of the youths understood the rules of the program and their legal rights. In order to address the number of restraints, the team implemented a new training program for staff, which created a new way of talking and thinking about youths. The training program has helped reduce restraints by 60%. To increase the number of youths who understand the rules and rights, the staff had the youths create posters about it and staff credit the youths’ involvement as a key element in the improvement plan’s success. Now, 94% of youths understand the program rules and 100% understand their legal rights!

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Finalist Spotlight: Youth Opportunity Center

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is happy to announce the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) in Muncie, IN as one of the three finalists in this year’s detention category. Youth Opportunity Center was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) to reduce the use and duration of isolation.

In April 2013, YOC’s data showed that the average duration for an incident of isolation or room confinement was 25.86 hours, almost four times the field average of 7.28 hours. The team identified this issue as a priority and discussed how isolation was being used at the facility. They discovered that a standard consequence of 24 hours of isolation was being used regardless of the type of behavior exhibited by the youth. With buy-in from the staff, the team formed a small committee of staff members to review the issues of the behavior management system. The committee reviewed the data and determined that many behavior problems occur during periods of idle time. Additional activities were created to fill in the gaps and included weekly bible study, movie night and group activity night. The committee also requested additional resources for the youths such as books, cards and board games.

The committee proposed these recommendations to the detention team and all staff agreed with the recommendations. The policy and procedure relating to isolation was revised and staff members were trained on the changes and new policies and procedures. By the next data collection in Oct. 2013, there average duration of isolation incidents dropped to 5 hours. By April 2014, there were zero instances where a youth was isolated for behavioral reasons. The YOC team believes that the key to success is a result of “Staff providing feedback, identifying areas of improvement and helping to ‘own’ the changes that were proposed by the committee.”

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 4:23 PM

State Trends: Updates from the 2013-2014 Legislative Session

 

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), a national advocacy organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system, released a new report today, State Trends: Updates from the 2013-2014 Legislative Session. The report takes a look at states that have, and are taking steps to remove children from the adult criminal justice system.

State Trends documents the continuation of four trends in justice reform efforts across the country to roll back transfer laws in the country, from arrest through sentencing. Building on efforts from the last decade, states continue to amend and eliminate harmful statutes and policies created in the 1990s that placed tens of thousands of youth in the adult criminal justice system. In 2014, advocacy, research, operative Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations, and fiscal analysis assisted in the introduction of bills in nine states to remove youth from the adult criminal justice system and give youth an opportunity at more rehabilitative services.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Finalist Spotlight: Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

This year PbS is happy to announce the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Madison, IN as one of the three finalist in the correction category. Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) to provide safety for the youths by becoming a “No Bullying Zone”.

Data collected in April 2013 showed an increase in the number of girls who had reported they feared for their safety in the past six months. To understand the increase in the fear for safety when assaults and injuries were at al all time low, the team conducted a survey and found that the reasoning behind the increase was because the girls were being bullied. The team at Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility used this information and began to develop a plan to change the culture of the facility. A major change includes instructing students on how to file a bullying report to the newly established Anti-Bullying Committee, comprised of a custody supervisor, a counselor and representative from each shift. When a report is received by the Committee, it determines the appropriate use of action ranging from conflict resolution to counselling for everyone involved.

Since implementing the improvement plan, the number of students who reported fearing for their safety has declined to 0% in April 2014. The facility notes that because of the changes there has been an “all time low in isolations, fights, restraints, uses of force, and self-injurious behavior.”

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Former DYS Youth Operates a Very Successful Company and Employs DYS Youth on Parole

 

Cincinnati native Tim Arnold runs a successful landscaping and home renovation company. The former DYS youth is proud of another achievement: his ability to employ DYS youth on parole and empower them with the skills and knowledge so that they can be successful in the workforce as well.

In 2008, Arnold started his landscaping business, Lawn Life, a not-for-profit company that depends on donations and grants. It’s a unique operation that has a clear mission: Provide disconnected youth with an opportunity to gain real-work experience and transferrable skills.

Donations and grants help cover expenses, employee training and equipment.

Since 2008, a total of 480 teenagers have been on the payroll at Lawn Life, including DYS youth. “The kids really respect the job. They feel empowered,” said Arnold.

While Arnold is a success story himself, he is quick to share the many success stories of the youth he employs.

When Lawn Life was getting off the ground, a teenager saw Arnold at a gas station and asked him for $1. Instead of just handing over some money, Arnold told the boy he could earn $10 by cutting the lawn of a nearby home that Arnold was renovating. The teenager accepted and Arnold paid him $10 an hour.

“It was his first job ever; his pride in that alone brought out a completely different side of him. He was motivated and intrinsically wanted to work hard,” Arnold said. The youth went on to work at Proctor and Gamble, a Fortune 500 company.

During the past six years, Arnold’s business has exploded, from 30 to 300 lawns a week and he has landscaping operations in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

Currently, about ten DYS youth on parole are employed at the company, learning a trade, earning a paycheck and opening bank accounts for the first time.

Lawn Life, however, offers youth more than just a paycheck, Arnold said. His teenage employees learn about customer service, sales and completing jobs with attention to detail. “When they (youth) come to Lawn Life, I hope I am building their character.”

Arnold does not hesitate to hire DYS youth. He is eager to give them a chance because he was once a DYS youth himself.

From 1992-1996, Arnold was at various facilities, including Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility, Lighthouse Youth Center at Paint Creek and the now-closed Riverview Juvenile Correctional Facility.

After 27 adjudications, Arnold decided to turn his life around. He was 18 at the time and working at a steel mill. “I just decided to apply myself to the job,” he said, “not just fill out an application, but really apply myself.” Eventually, promotions and raises came his way. With the extra money, he paid off thousands in credit card and student loan debt.

After putting himself through real estate school, Arnold decided to renovate homes on the side. His first purchase was in Cincinnati for $30,000. After three months of hard work, he sold it for $80,000. While most people would be inclined to spend the profits, he took the money and purchased more homes to renovate and sell.

Arnold isn’t flipping houses anymore, but he is still in the home renovation business, completing about 15 a year. The work is done entirely by youth under the supervision of professional tradespeople.

After nearly five years at the steel mill and several wise real estate investments, Arnold knew it was time for him to follow his “purpose in life.” Lawn Life came into the landscaping scene in 2008.

The landscaping company offers youth many entry-level opportunities, from cutting grass to earning more job responsibility, to eventually working full-time.

Today, Arnold is married and has three daughters. His two older daughters assist him with the business. “My girls work circles around the boys,” he said with a chuckle.

Arnold says he will continue to grow his business and instill a positive work ethic in youth that is reflected in his company slogan: “Persistently pursuing perfection.”

I commend Tim Arnold for pursuing success while dedicating his time to our youth on parole. Tim’s story should be a reminder to all of us of the DYS vision: A safer Ohio: one youth, one family and one community at a time.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 Director's Monthly Brief.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Finalist Spotlight: Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center in Richmond, IN as one of the three finalists in the community category. Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center was selected as a finalist for their Improvement Plan to ensure the safety and security of the youths and staff by reducing the number of incidents at the program.

Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center recognized that the number of incidents at the program was far greater than the average of similar community programs. When the team reviewed the data, they realized that one of the units was causing a large portion of the incidents. To address the issue, the program instituted a critical incident review team who meet to review all incidents each morning. The data is then reported weekly to the leadership team and subsequently to the Board of Directors. The program has also allocated additional staff to the unit causing the incidents. Moving forward, the program plans to continue the daily reviews, provide additional staff when necessary and ensure training opportunities for staff.

Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center notes that the improvement process has helped each department work together to reach a common goal and the PbS process has driven the program to “our most sacred change—providing the best environment possible for our residents.”

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 9:47 AM

PbS Participants Help Youths Get Outdoors and Stay Active

 

The summer months are a great time to get outdoors and stay active. Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants have shared some of the ways they get their youths outside, from boot camps to gardening.

In 2012, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in California implemented an annual five week Boot Camp challenge program, designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals. The program begins outdoors with running and then heads inside to the gym for bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups, as well as competitive games. The program helps the youths increase strength, improve cardiovascular efficiency and develop an exercise routine. In addition, the youths can socialize as they exercise and many make friends over the course of the program.

Three years ago, the Upstate Evaluation Center in South Carolina began a garden project where the youths attend to five plant beds. The project has grown and this summer, youths and staff harvested 14 vegetable beds. Each day, about five youths are selected to help maintain the garden. They enjoy time to get outside and soak in the sunshine, keep physically active and help grow fresh produce. Several of the youths even assisted a staff member in building a produce stand!

Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana held a facility-wide celebration in recognition of achieving the highest level in PbS. The celebration, which had a theme of a Hawaiian luau, allowed staff and students to participate in coconut bowling, trike races, corn hole and many other activities. Additionally, both staff and youth enjoyed the delicious pulled pork, rice, baked beans and pineapple upside down cake.

The Outdoor Therapeutic Program (OTP) provides numerous activities for youths in the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections (IDJC). In addition to community service opportunities such as trail maintenance and snow removal, the program offers a challenge course that helps the youths learn problem-solving and teamwork skills. The youths also have the opportunity to participate in hiking, biking, swimming and canoeing. Recently, Juvenile Corrections Center-St. Anthony hosted a group of IDJC youths from a county detention center for a 3-day camp experience at Horseshoe Lake.

Youths at Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) in Kansas participated in the annual Summer Fun Day on July 24. The event featured a water balloon toss, dunk tank, watermelon eating contest and a tug of war. LJCF also provided the opportunity for several youths to learn techniques for a successful barbeque. Youths were placed on teams and learned how to select meat, prepare the cuts, use a smoker and then presented the finished product to a panel of judges. Several youths also participated in a 5K run through the running club at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex.

STAR Academy in South Dakota provides many outdoor activities for the youths. One of the favorites is the challenge course, available at both the male and female campuses. The youths can choose what level they are comfortable participating in any of the activities including teambuilding activities, zip line, leap of faith, indoor rock wall and rappelling. Another popular outdoor activity is the off-campus “Outdoor Campus,” which provides education about outdoor skills, wildlife, conservation and management practices of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The youths enjoyed learning about catching, cleaning and cooking rainbow trout, as well as kayaking and canoeing.

Youths from the Lincoln Hills School (LHS) in Wisconsin participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics earlier this summer. Youths and staff ran eleven miles after training for about three months 5-6 days a week. The youths set goals in finishing the race, finishing in a certain time and not letting themselves stop and walk. After the training, some of the youths say they hope to keep running throughout their lives and continue training for other races!

Thanks to all the PbS facilities who shared how they get youths outdoors and staying active!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Finalist Spotlight: Cache Valley Youth Center

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce Cache Valley Youth Center in Logan, UT as one of the three finalists in the detention category. Cache Valley Youth Center was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) to improve community engagement by increasing the number of programs that use community volunteers.

The facility realized in Oct. 2013 that only 25% of their facility programs were utilizing community volunteers and wanted to increase the number to 80% by April 2014. In order to understand the current level of volunteer involvement, documentation forms were added to daily logs to reflect the number of volunteers coming into the facility and how many activities the volunteers were providing. The facility team also utilized volunteer skill sets such as speaking Spanish. Youths felt very comfortable using Spanish when discussing concerns with volunteers and volunteers became more invested in spending time with the youths. Community volunteers were also invited to be a part of the facility team, which has resulted in closer working relationships. All of the facility’s efforts have helped them exceed their goal and in April 2014, 100% of facility programs engage community volunteers.

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM

SC Juvenile Justice Plans Community Service Projects

 

The S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and youth under its supervision are performing community service projects to help counter the harmful impact that crime has on a community.

The statewide effort is inspired by a concept called “Restorative Juvenile Justice.”

Spartanburg County youth are holding a food drive to benefit Mobile Meals recipients.

Jennifer Clarke, regional administrator for the Department of Juvenile Justice, said around 470 pounds of food were collected four years ago during a similar project.

“I would love to beat that goal,” Clarke said.

She said all donations are welcome.

People and businesses who wish to donate canned goods and other nonperishable items can drop them off at two locations. Donations are being accepted at the Department of Juvenile Justice Spartanburg office at 200 Library St. and the main lobby of the Spartanburg County Courthouse at 180 Magnolia St.

Youth will deliver Mobile Meals twice a week during September. Items donated through the food drive will be given to Mobile Meals recipients.

This article was retrieved from GoUpstate.com.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Finalist Spotlight: STAR East Campus

 

Every year, facilities across the country submit applications for the Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award, which honors a correction, detention and community program who successfully use Performance-based Standards’ (PbS) national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

PbS is pleased to announce STAR East Campus in Custer, South Dakota as one of the three finalists in the correction category. STAR East Campus was selected as a finalist for their Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) to improve safety at the facility by addressing the number of injuries to youths.

Back in Oct. 2009, STAR East Campus recorded 22 injuries to youths, around four times higher than the field average. The staff realized that consistency and proactive measures needed to be a part of the culture in order to reduce recreational and self-harming injuries. As a result, STAR East Campus made several improvements including conducting daily wellness safety briefs, inspecting sporting equipment, installing new flooring in the gym and hanging posters about warming-up before exercising. To address self-harming injuries, staff received trauma training to understand how trauma can affect brain development and motivational interviewing to build rapport with the girls. Additionally, the facility implemented guided meditation and youths have even used the relaxation techniques in other areas of their programming! All of these changes helped STAR East Campus eliminate both recreational and self-harming injuries in the April 2014 data collection.

The BAH Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. Winners of the award in the corrections, detention/assessment and community categories will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 2, 2014. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Congratulations to the 2014 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award Finalists

 

The PbS Learning Institute (PbS Li) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2014 PbS Barbara Allen Hagen Award recognizing facilities for young offenders that best exemplify the Performance-based Standards (PbS) program’s commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own. The finalists were selected from nearly 40 high-quality applications from across the country that achieved positive outcomes for youths, staff and families by measuring and monitoring daily practices and services using PbS' data-driven improvement model. The finalists addressed significant challenges to operating youth facilities including changing culture to be more youth-focused and less punitive, engaging families and social supports, introducing trauma-informed approaches to increase youths’ safety and innovative approaches to turn around young lives.

The 2014 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award Finalists are:

Correction Facility Category:

Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility, Madison, IN

STAR East Campus, Custer, SD

Worcester Secure Treatment, Westborough, MA

Detention and Assessment Centers Category:

Cache Valley Youth Center, Logan, UT

Center for Human Development Assessment Program, Springfield, MA

Youth Opportunity Center-Detention, Muncie, IN

Community-based Residential Programs Category:

Bennington School-Boys, Bennington, VT

Ruth Meiers Adolescent Treatment Center, Grand Forks, ND

Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center, Richmond, IN

One winner in each category will be selected and honored at a national awards ceremony Oct. 2 in Chicago.

“Every single application we received showed remarkable dedication to aligning daily facility practices with the most recent research on adolescent development, trauma-informed care and strengthening connections with family and community,” said PbS Li Executive Director Kim Godfrey. “This shows the great work and reform efforts underway across the country. I applaud all the applicants and all PbS facilities working to provide safe, healthy and effective rehabilitation services and programs.”

PbS is a data-driven improvement model that identifies, monitors and improves conditions of confinement and treatment services in residential facilities and programs using national standards and performance outcome measures. Agencies, facilities and programs in over 30 states currently volunteer to participate and commit to treating all youths in custody as one of our own. PbS builds performance improvement and accountability into agency, facility and program operations using a three-part cycle of activities: collecting data, analyzing the performance outcomes and summary data reports and the heart of PbS: using the data to create improvement and reforms.

PbS was launched by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention specifically to address safety, health and quality of life issues in youth facilities identified as problematic in the 1994 Conditions of Confinement Study. PbS’ primary purpose is to provide facility leaders and staff with national standards to guide operations to best serve youths, staff and families and to continuously monitor daily practices and culture within facilities with performance outcome measures. Over time, PbS uniquely has established uniform data definitions, outcome measures and a quality assurance process that creates the most timely, comprehensive and accurate national database of its kind.

In 2004, PbS was a winner of the Innovations in American Government Award by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University for uniquely and effectively improving conditions of confinement and the quality of life in facilities for young offenders.

For more information please visit the PbS website or contact Executive Director Kim Godfrey at 781-843-2663.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Youths in Washington Get Involved with their Community

 

Many Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants have great projects to get their youths involved with the community from gardening to park maintenance. Echo Glen Children’s Center in Washington offers youths numerous ways to give back and help those in need.

Earlier this year, staff and youths participated in Bikes for Kids community service project. They spent four hours helping to prepare over 500 bikes which will be sent to Africa. Stephanie Ewing, program manager, said “I have always been a strong believer in giving back to the community and was very excited for the youth to be a part of this project.” One staff member said that the day working on the bike project was one her favorite days working at Echo Glen.

Over 40 youths from Echo Glen helped to package meals which were shipped to children in need in Africa and the Caribbean as part of the Children of the Nations program. Fraser Ratzlaff, an area representative from the program, said “it was so great to see everyone working together to serve children in need around the world!”

Not only do youths package meals to be sent internationally, they help prepare and serve meals locally for feeding the homeless and residents of Compass Center. The youths also delivered meals to those who couldn’t make it to the center. One youth said “One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the hope on the faces of the homeless. I felt like they knew that there would be good coming to their future. I liked to help people, it was cool. I felt powerful and proud of myself and others for giving out food and hope.”

Youth getting out into the community is important, but Echo Glen also brings community members to the youths. Youths will often request to remove unwanted tattoos, which are symbols of their gang affiliations. A TeamChild Representative who became aware of the facility’s need, suggested Dr. Debbie Caddell of Cadell’s Laser Clinic. When the facility reached out to Dr. Caddell, she expressed her eagerness to help the residents and now donates her time for this special service.

Thanks to Echo Glen who shared all the amazing community service stories, which teach the youths new skills and shows them the value of helping their community! Check out the community service projects from other PbS participants.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:43 AM

PbS Participants Help Youths Give Back to the Community

 

Getting involved with community service projects can be an invaluable experience for youths. It keeps youths engaged in healthy activities, teaches them new skills and shows how they can make a difference. To celebrate the importance of community service, Performance-based Standards (PbS) participants have shared some of the amazing projects that their youths are participating in from gardening to maintaining and cleaning local parks.

Youths at STAR Academy in South Dakota help Custer State Park by cleaning campground bathrooms and rest areas, repairing fences and working at the buffalo corrals. In addition to the work for the park, the youths assist the town of Custer on many activities. For example, the youths have painted the exterior of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) building, assisted in building a community garden and set up for an annual rummage sale. The youths also help set up for specific events like the National VFW conference, the Miss South Dakota pageant and 4th of July festivities. The youths are excited to help, with one youth stating “it was great to see that our help was appreciated.”

Community service is a vital part of the programming at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility, which conducts several community service projects throughout the year. Youths have helped paint the American Legion, refurbish wheelchairs for the Wheel LIFE program, made hats and scarves to donate to the local mission center, stocked the Salvation Army food pantry and conducted a food drive for Real Hope for Haiti.

The Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities take advantage of the summer through gardening initiatives. At the Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility and Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility, youths grow a variety of vegetables including peppers, onion, corn, squash and beans, which are donated to local non-profit organizations and families in need. Youths at Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility learn about plant identification, basic greenhouse operations, garden maintenance and retail and wholesale marketing. They donate produce to a food bank and sell some at a local farmer’s market to help fund the gardening program.

The Kenneth “Honey” Rubenstein Juvenile Center in West Virginia provides youths with numerous community service projects each year. Youths at the facility assist with general maintenance of parks, set up for festivals and help senior citizen programs by serving meals, removing snow and visiting residents. After every community service project, staff help the youths reflect on things they learned that day and what they accomplished as a group in order to help them understand why community involvement is important.

Thanks to all the PbS facilities who shared how they get youth involved with their community! Stay tuned to see what community service programs Washington offers their youths.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Educating Youths in the Juvenile Justice System

 

Education is an integral component of programming for youths in the juvenile justice system. The education program can provide youths with better opportunities and a brighter future by helping youths improve reading abilities, gain life skills, earn school credits or even a high school or college degree. Performance-based Standards (PbS) is proud to share how our participants are educating youths and helping them succeed.

The school at STAR Academy in South Dakota offers numerous courses including building trades, welding, OSHA safety, computer applications and personal finance. The school receives a grant through Title I, which allows Title I staff to work directly with students with deficiencies in reading and math. Previously, the school was classified as a Target-Assisted Title program, which meant that Title I staff could only work with students identified as two or more grade levels below where they should be. In a collaborative effort with numerous departments at STAR Academy, the school was changed to an Institutional-Wide Title program. Title I staff can now help any student who needs additional assistance. As a result of the education program, all thirteen students who took the GED in May passed the test(s) they had taken. For the fifteen students who left in May, there was an average grade-level gain of 1.71 years in reading and a phenomenal grade-level gain of 1.98 years in math!

In May, two youths from the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) in Kansas earned an associate of arts in general studies from Barton Community College (BCC). One of the youths, Austin Brownell, realized that he had acquired quite a few college credits and inquired about earning an associate degree while at LJCF. At first, he was told he wouldn’t be able to since all of the courses he needed were not offered, but through a collaboration between LJCF and BCC, the necessary courses were provided through a site-specific online structure.

The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) juvenile services recently implemented iGRAD, a Keys for Networking program, which helps track school placement history and secure records in an online database to ease communication between schools and providers. In the case of one juvenile who was moved 26 times during her high school career, there was an obvious need for this tool that helps youths stay on track when they switch between schools.

The school at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility has figured out a system that works; they average 1,150 earned school credits and graduate 110 to 125 students with the GED each year. With over 60% of special education students in each classroom, all teachers have dual licenses—one in special education and one in the subject they are teaching. Every student is on an individualized education program based on their needs and are evaluated every two weeks. Students with their GED take classes to prepare them for when they leave including classes in personal finance, adult roles in life and college preparation. They also attend classes in copper cabling and receive certification from C-tech, a company based in New Jersey, which helps them seek employment from local cable companies.

Thanks to all the PbS participants who shared information about their education programs!

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Monday, June 30, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Nome Youth Facility Brings Together a Youth and His Family

 

The Nome Youth Facility is located in Northwest Alaska in the town of Nome. The Nome Youth Facility is a 14 bed detention facility operated by the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice. This facility serves the communities Nome and Kotzebue and the surrounding 23 Inupiaq or Yupik Eskimo Villages. Located along the Bering Sea Coast there are no roads connecting Nome to the outside world. Only air and water transportation provide the necessary goods for this community of nearly 4,000 to exist in a modern world. Due to these logistic challenges the cost of living is very expensive, heating oil can cost up to $11 per gallon and gasoline can cost up to $10 dollars per gallon.

In February of 2013, the Nome Youth Facility received a 14 year old boy from the Village of Kobuk. This village is over 350 air miles and two plane rides away. This young man, now age 15, has been in and out of his own home for the past six years. He has been in Anchorage, AK for mental health stabilization treatment, placed in a group home in Anchorage and has been in long term residential treatment in Texas. Access to treatment in his home village is inconsistent and sometimes completely unavailable due to the remoteness, travel/cost and the availability of itinerant mental health clinicians. We are striving to keep him in the State of Alaska as close as possible to his family and his culture.

In an effort to bring the youth together with his family, we worked on a request for the travel expenses for his mother and sister to visit. The cost of airfare and two nights lodging would be nearly $1,800. Thankfully, our State Office in Anchorage approved the request and the resident’s family members traveled to Nome to visit with him. During the visit the resident and his family shared meals together, played board games, watched movies and he even taught them how to play ping pong! Our resident’s favorite part of the visit was spending valuable time talking to his mom and sister about all of the events that have happened in Kobuk since his departure. His mother shared stories of his family and extended family. The visit was a success! It is just amazing what the power of family can do to the spirit! As professionals and caretakers of youth, we have to remember that most of our youths love and miss their families and we must do all we can to support and sustain these emotional connections.

It was emotionally difficult for our resident after his family departed, but eventually he began to see the family visit as a positive experience. He shared his experience with the staff and the other residents. While he told his stories he radiated a pride for his family, his culture and the village that helped raise him. We could not begin to put a price tag on the smile that showed on his face as a result of two days with his family.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Creating Transparency and Trust with PbS Data

 

The Greene County Juvenile Detention Center in Missouri is reaching out to families and the community and increasing transparency by using Performance-based Standards (PbS) to share and support the work that is being done.

Greene County includes PbS outcome data that is of interest to key stakeholders in the annual report, enhancing what may typically be viewed as an administrative report limited only to statistics, demographics, fiscal, and program information. The enhanced report is used as a vehicle to further inform and engage families and the community. Since evidence and experience indicate youth outcomes improve when their families and other social supports are viewed as partners, focusing on this data can ultimately help improve outcomes for youths.

Greene County’s annual report is produced through the collaborative efforts of representatives from all units of family and juvenile court operations. Each year volunteer staff, supervisory staff and line staff take the lead in producing a report that is as visually captivating and informative as possible, since experience has shown that the more pictures, graphs and youth artwork the more widely the report will be read.

The 2013 Annual Report combined PbS data, already being used to inform administrators and staff and to continuously improve operations, services and programming, with other annual report information. The result was a family friendly report available to the public. For example, rather than simply saying that the facility has phone calls and visits on a regular basis, the report provided the percentage of youth who say on their PbS survey they actually had a phone call or visit. Other information cited from PbS surveys and reports included the percentage of youth who report that when they leave detention they will talk to family if they need help working out a problem. This data provides the perspective of individual detained youth, which research has linked to safety within facilities as well as longer-term outcomes and is a powerful tool for increasing authenticity, accountability and transparency.

In Greene County the annual report is posted on their website and copies are available to read in the Detention waiting room. This public display of information is intended to increase transparency, trust, and the documented benefits of openly sharing data and providing avenues for feedback to families and the community.

For more illustrations of how PbS data can be used, see pages 20-21 of the 2013 Greene County Family Court: Juvenile & Domestic Relations Division Annual Report.

This article was retrieved from the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Kiosks Help Facilities Hear from Youths, Staff and Families

 

Earlier this year, Performance-based Standards (PbS) announced the availability of touch-screen kiosks to survey youths, staff and families in a quick, easy and paper-less manner. The announcement quickly caught the attention of juvenile agencies looking to reduce the time and effort involved in administering paper surveys.

The kiosks were setup and installed in 20 facilities across 10 different states in time to be used during the April 2014 PbS data collection period. Throughout the course of April these kiosks collected 1,141 surveys of youths, staff and families. Nine tree-saving facilities completely eliminated their paper surveys in favor of the kiosk!

One clear benefit to surveying at a kiosk is the amount of staff time saved. PbS asked the facilities who used the kiosk how much time it took them to use the kiosk when compared to paper surveys and the savings averaged nearly 10 minutes per survey. The time difference is really gained through eliminating the need for any staff person to do any data entry—the surveys collected at the kiosk are automatically submitted to the PbS database where they are summarized through a series of reports. An average savings of 10 minutes per survey can really add up especially considering that 261 surveys were collected at a single facility this April which would total more than one work week of staff time saved.

There was an initial availability of 50 kiosk units, all of which are now spoken for with 14 early adopting juvenile agencies purchasing the devices for their correction and detention facilities. PbS has now made the same kiosk devices available to community-based residential centers and has begun shipping the next round of orders to be used between now and the next PbS data collection period in October of this year.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM

In Covington, Louisiana - a Juvenile Detention Center that preserves the dignity of the kids that they serve and helps us to recover a precious resource

 

When riding long distances you get into a rhythm, put your head down, pedal forward and focus on the road ahead, often missing the landscape that surrounds you. So I know that it was serendipity that made me look up and notice the juvenile detention center I was passing as I trekked along US highway 190 in Louisiana. Something in me made me stop, turn around, drive through the parking lot to the front of the building, park my bike and push the speaker button. A guard on the other side wanted to know how she could help to which I replied that I wished to speak to one of the supervisors. She told me to hold on. A few minutes later the metal doors clicked open and a young man came out. He introduced himself as Steven and asked me what he could do for me. I imparted some details concerning the reason for my journey and asked if he would be willing to speak with me about the facility and the work he was involved in. Steve said he could give me a couple of minutes and told me to come inside. I said I was going to lock up my bike and he said, “No need, we have cameras everywhere. No one will touch your bike.” We went through the metal detectors and sat down in what was like a visitor waiting room.

I took off my helmet and began to tell Steve about my ride's purpose, and in doing so I happened to mention Dr. Vincent Felitti and the ACE study, and that was that! Next thing I know I’m sitting in the conference room with Steve and the Executive Director of the Detention Center, Tom Jarlock, about to have a conversation that in itself has made this ride more than worth the effort.

After introducing myself and filling Tom in on why I had stopped and what I hoped to accomplish, our conversation began in earnest. Actually, it was not really a conversation but a lesson on leadership, courage, and vision that Tom imparted and I’m going to attempt to write down for you to read.

Tom and Steve have been to Chicago and have heard Dr. Felitti speak, actually getting the opportunity to spend time with him to ask questions and gather information. “The ACE study confirms a lot of what we experience and know already,” said Tom. He continued by informing me that at the center they see kids that have many risk factors and very few protective factors, and so for him it’s no surprise that they get caught up in criminal behavior. The center serves young boys and girls, and he said that the girls that they serve have almost all been sexually abused in some way. From his perspective -- a viewpoint supported by the ACE information -- it’s no surprise that the young girls have gotten caught up in criminal behavior as a result of their coping mechanisms.

What Dr. Felitti learned and what Tom paraphrased to me is that, “We see people's problems when what we are really seeing is their solutions.” Tom went on to say, “It hasn’t shaped or changed the way we do business, but it has given us additional understanding and insight.” He said, “We work with children, with adolescents. We’re a juvenile detention center, one of about 600 centers in the country. There are five centers in the country that use the cognitive behavioral process to work with kids and we are one of the five. Not the first, but probably the third or the fourth." He went on to tell me how they got to where they are. “When I came here this was a typical institution,” said Tom. It was your typical detention center where guards have ultimate authority and kids are moved from place to place, where forced is applied in overwhelming amounts to deal with most problems. This is a scenario that still holds true in most areas of the country.

Tom began to examine the detention center's operations. He began to ask questions: Why do we do this? Why do we do that? Can this be done differently? I have to stop and tell you that at some point I asked Tom what made him question the system, and I’m putting his answer much too simply, but it had something to do with his time as a Marine where he really took a concept taught by the Marine Corps -- “a belief in excellence” -- and made it a way of life for himself.

Tom found that the answer to his questions were not to be found in Louisiana at the time. “It wasn’t done differently anywhere in Louisiana so I started asking outside the state,” said Tom. "We found a place that was doing it differently when we went to Chicago to visit the DuPage Detention Center." This is a center that has been recognized by the National Juvenile Detention Association as a model program. They have all the residents in the detention center participate in an intense program geared to reduce their risk of re-offending. Principles of effective interventions with juveniles and concepts of Restorative Justice form the basis for their programming.

“We brought those principles home after spending a week up there learning their processes, came back and over a period of eighteen months we implemented the cognitive behavioral interventions model,” Tom recounted. In two years he said they lost 90% of the staff because many of them couldn’t make the transition from authoritarian to caregiver. They could not go from being guards to what he says they are now, “more like shepherds.” "We treat kids through the lens of, 'Are we removing dignity from them or are we caring for them?'" An example he gave was that in 2004 they didn’t have shower curtains because they had to watch the kids shower. Now they have shower curtains because, according to Tom, “Number one, we shouldn’t be looking at kids naked. Secondly, how do kids feel when they are viewed without their clothes? They feel awful about that. They’re unsure about their bodies, they’re experiencing a lot of change, they’re now thrust into an institution. Should they ever be seen naked? Our perspective is No! That is a huge dignity removal, so we don’t do that anymore. We don’t do strip searches for random events. We do them only if and when we have probable cause. We are very careful in how we train people on how to speak to kids as well. We don’t use derogatory terms. We don’t curse at kids. We don’t strike them. We don’t use chemical agents on kids. We are very cautious about every interaction and our main focus is not removing dignity. We do a lot of training on de-escalation of kids; therefore, we are very patient. Some people see that as coddling. We see that as giving kids ample opportunity to express themselves, which gives us the opportunity to resolve things without using force.” Tom told me that back in 2004, everyday they had a full hands-on violent restraint of a kid involving handcuffing or pepper spray. Now that happens maybe once a month.

Over the past ten years they have become focused on what they could do in becoming the very best in this industry, providing the very best services for kids even though nobody asked them to. It’s not been easy. For example, when Tom started making these changes, the judges where saying, “Well we don’t like that!”

Another example of dignity is that every kid would have their heads shaved when they came in. Judges really got a kick out of that! Tom came in and said, “I don’t feel good about that. Why do we do that? Why don’t we offer kids haircuts?” Tom had a judge call him and say, “Look, I want this kid's head shaved.” Tom said, “Your honor, put that in their order and I’ll go ahead and shave this kid's head.” He got a call saying, “The order's coming.” He said, “Great, waiting to see it.” The order came and it said, “Youth shall have hair cut.”

By 2005, they got a reputation for being too soft on kids, and in typical fashion, Tom responded by giving stuffed animal to kids upon intake. “You got a 14-year-old, 15-year-old kid, maybe a girl, first time away from home in jail, institutional environment, how does it feel? Feels awful! Feels awful. Did they do something bad? They did something that warranted them being detained. Does that mean we treat them like a criminal or thug? They’re a kid! They’re a recoverable resource that we want to help recover!”

He said that they have a laser-like focus on what they do and commented that it has spread somewhat. But he told me that I’d be surprised at how many people are not interested in the concept of specially practitioners in the field of juvenile detention. “You’ll hear, 'Oh yeah, we do some of that.' Sadly, it’s all talk and no action,” Tom said.

But here at this center, Tom has made sure that everyone works toward the importance of recovering this child resource, preserving the dignity of the kids that they serve, and training the people that come in as best they can. They start out by finding the right people to work in the juvenile detention industry. They want people who have an interest in doing things that don’t require chest-banging machismo, an “I’m going to go in there and kick some ass” kind of mentality. In this way, Tom thinks they’ve made a significant impact on the lives that they’ve touched--staff lives and the lives of the kids they interact with everyday.

“We want kids to leave here feeling better than when they came in," Tom said. "We want them to be reinforced as human beings, leaving here thinking, 'I got detained, but these people cared for me while I was here. They didn’t stomp on my chest. They didn’t feed me bad food. They didn’t taunt me for whatever reason--my sexuality, the crime I was alleged of having committed. They didn’t taunt me because I’m poor and came in only having one shoe. They didn’t taunt me because I live in a certain area. They respected me!'”

“You talk about adverse childhood events. Well detention is one of those and we focus on how to make that less of a risk factor,” said Tom. “If it can be done in Chicago, I knew it could be done here. In fact, it can be done anywhere you name a place: Los Angeles, any place in the country. All you need is the will and desire. It’s not done commonly because people don’t have to.”

Dr. David W. Roush, an expert in Juvenile Detention and Corrections, has told them that what they accomplished at this Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center in Covington, Louisiana, is the most dramatic change model that has been sustained over time of any detention center he’s experienced. Tom has been here for ten years and Steve is going on eight years. “Together with the staff we’ve carefully reinforced the purity of this model,” Tom said. “A pure soup that people can taste. It can be done in other places if the right team comes together. A doable thing that somebody can do if they have the will and desire to do it!”

This article originally appeared on the ACEs Connection blog.

Friday, June 13, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Remembering John Platt

 

Juvenile justice lost one of its champions for youths in confinement over Memorial Day weekend. John Roderick Platt passed in the early morning hours of May 24, surrounded by his family, after a long and courageous battle to recover from a stroke he suffered four years ago.

John and I last worked together as advisors to the California Division of Juvenile Justice when the state was developing a “Safety and Welfare Plan” in response to a lawsuit from the Prison Law Office (PLO). I experienced his deep concern for the rights of confined children, his professionalism and his friendship.

John spent his entire career in youth corrections, first becoming the superintendent of St. Charles Youth Center and then deputy director of the Juvenile Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). John was an active member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) when he led the juvenile division.

After a long and distinguished career in Illinois youth corrections, John served as a coach to the Midwestern states for the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbS Li). He epitomized the commitment of PbS Li “To treat all youths in custody as one of our own.”

John spent the final years of his juvenile justice career as a consultant for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division as a monitor of youth detention and correctional facilities to improve the living conditions for youths in confinement.

John was known for his “Plattisms.” Janice Shallcross, PbS Coach, who worked for John at the IDOC recounted one on his Caring Bridge web page: “It’s a good day when all the children you put to bed get up in the morning. It gets even better, you send them home and they stay there. It doesn’t happen by chance. You have to have good people during the journey to make a difference.”

Two words most used to describe John in the many tributes to him on Caring Bridge were: courage and dignity.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM

PbS Participants Connect Youths and their Families

 

Research has shown the importance of engaging families in youths’ rehabilitation and many facilities across the country hold events to help encourage family engagement. Performance-based Standards (PbS) is proud to share some of the great things happening in participating facilities.

Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) in Indiana recently held a series of Family Days for each of its therapeutic and general population communities. During the Family Days, staff, parents and youths participated in treatment teams, family counseling sessions and family reunification events. LJCF received positive feedback from everyone who participated in the Family Days!

STAR Academy in South Dakota has several ways of connecting youths and families. For the female population, Family Focus is a group counseling session where the youths and their family work to build better communication by addressing past issues and developing new goals. The process includes hands-on activities and open floor discussions, covering topics like goal setting, transition planning and ways to improve family communication. For the male population, Family Connect Weekend provides programming that involves understanding how the adolescent male mind works, how to interact with the adolescent male and how to connect as a family unit prior to the youth returning home.

Teen mothers at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) in Geneva, NE are able to participate in the Mother and Babies Program, a program that facilitates an overnight stay, with their child. Once the youths demonstrate positive parenting skills, an overnight visit can be arranged where staff observe the interactions and provide tips for handling situations. The young mothers are excited and appreciative of the opportunity to care for their child and Danielle Larson, who helps facilitate the program, says “they desire reunification with their child, so they follow the program’s expectations and work hard to earn an overnight stay with their child.”

Thanks to the PbS participants who shared their great programs and events!

To learn more about family engagement, see our blog on family engagement resources.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Friday, May 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Reflections of a BAH Winner: Pendleton JCF (IN)

 

Performance-based Standards (PbS) created the Barbara Allen-Hagen Award (BAH) to honor one correction, one detention/assessment and one community-based residential program who successfully use PbS’ national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility (PJCF), run by Indiana’s Division of Youth Services, won the 2013 BAH award for increasing family engagement through practices such as unlimited visitation, family councils and involving families in treatment planning. PJCF recently shared how the award has continued to impact the facility today and what other facilities can do to submit a successful application.

Receiving the news and the celebration
After receiving the call, PJCF shared the good news with staff, students and the community. As the maximum security juvenile facility in Indiana, the award gave PJCF an opportunity to share positive information about the programs and treatment offered at the facility. Celebrations were held for all staff and students following the news.

The significance of the award
The award was great proof that change is possible using PbS as the tool to help improve conditions of confinement as well as overall culture in the facility. PJCF considers winning the award as a “pat on the back” to all staff for their hard work and commitment to making all the improvements possible. PJCF proudly displays the award at the entrance of the facility for all staff and visitors to see.

The effect on staff and youths
Staff and youth morale increased even before winning the award as a result of the innovative changes that were made at the facility. The award helped to solidify and affirm that the facility was on the right course for improving outcomes for youths in their care.

Sustaining the changes
PJCF now has a line staff PbS committee who are much more involved in the PbS process. The facility does not look at PbS as an October and April event but rather, they have adopted PbS, a data-driven improvement model committed to treating all youths in custody as one of our own, into daily operations throughout the year. PJCF has embedded PbS into everything they do and it is a part of the culture at all levels. Thanks to the award, more and more staff are involved in the PbS process every day.

Tips for facilities and programs applying this year
PJCF emphasizes that facilities should get as many staff involved in PbS as you can because “the more information that staff and students have about PbS, the better.” Communication is also essential so that information can be shared and ideas heard. PJCF stresses that the Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) process is not just for management but line staff should be included in the development and implementation of all improvement plans.

Congratulations again to PJCF and a special thanks to Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility (SCYDF) for also sharing their success with the PbS community. The 2014 BAH application will be released to PbS participants on June 2, 2014. Please look for more news and announcements on the award!

The PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen in her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara’s dedication to improving the quality of life for young offenders has helped drive Performance-based Standards (PbS) to its current success.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Reflections of a BAH Winner: Sacramento

 

Each year, Performance-based Standards (PbS) recognizes one correction, one detention/assessment and one community-based residential program that best exemplify the core principal of PbS: treat all youths in custody as one of our own. The Barbara Allen-Hagen (BAH) Award has helped honor facilities and programs who successfully use PbS’ national standards and self-improvement process to achieve positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

The Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility (SCYDF) won the 2013 BAH Award for significantly reducing both the use and duration of isolation/room confinement. PbS recently caught up with the award winning facility, who described the excitement around winning the award, how they’ve sustained the positive changes and words of advice for facilities applying this year.

Receiving the news and the celebration
When SCYDF found out they won the award, management congratulated all the facility staff and spread the news to other divisions, county board members and community stakeholders. The facility gathered all staff and organized a barbeque lunch to celebrate their achievements. SCYDF currently displays the award in the reception area so that all facility staff and visitors can view it as they enter and exit the facility.

The significance of the award
SCYDF felt extremely honored to have made it as finalist for all their accomplishments and improvements but winning the award was a tremendous honor. Even more, SCYDF is the first detention facility to win the award in its category for a second time (the facility won in 2011), which SCYDF described as “an incredible feat that made Sacramento County Probation extremely proud.”

The effect on staff and youths
Winning the award has increased staff-buy in of the PbS program. Staff are now eager and to be involved in the facility’s continuous improvement efforts. This in turn has helped staff better engage with the youths that they impact at the facility.

Sustaining the changes
To help sustain the changes noted in their winning application, SCYDF has made the commitment to continually improve outcomes for youths, staff and families not just during data collections but all year long. SCYDF evaluates policies, procedures and practices regularly for any possible updates or enhancements.

Tips for facilities and programs applying this year
SCYDF encourages that all participants commit to on-going quality assurance. Paying particular attention to critical outcomes is crucial to success and sustainability. It is also important to educate and encourage staff on their impact to the program. SCDYF says that “staff interest and ownership of the positive changes will inspire and lead.” Finally, do not be discouraged! If the data does not reflect an improvement, acknowledge that progress has still been made and culture change takes time.

A special thanks to SCYDF for the words of encouragement and advice for our applicants. The 2014 BAH application will be released to PbS participants on June 2, 2014. Please look out for more news and announcements on the award!

The PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen in her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Barbara was dedicated to improving the quality of life for young offenders and has helped drive Performance-based Standards (PbS) to its current success today.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Webinar on Reducing Isolation Delivers the Gold

 

What do you do when a kid acts out? Is disrespectful or rude? Is visibly angry, out-of-control and maybe throws a punch?

This is an everyday challenge for all adults but especially those who work in facilities for young offenders. Their job is to control youths’ behavior, keep them safe from themselves and each other and create a positive environment for all youths and staff so rehabilitation can occur. Working in, managing or being responsible for facilities for at-risk and delinquent youths is one of the most challenging jobs there is and one with an opportunity to have an incredible impact on young lives; perhaps a life-changing impact.

Performance-based Standards (PbS) thanks Peter Forbes, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, and Judy Davis, Superintendent of the Illinois Youth Center-Warrenville and PbS state coordinator, for sharing realistic and feasible practices on Friday’s webinar “Policies, Practices and PbS Outcomes to Reduce Isolation and Room Confinement,” presented by PbS for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators’ (CJCA) Resource Network for Youth Correction Leadership and Professionals

The intention of the webinar was to provide some tools to change facility culture and practice from reliance on isolation and room confinement to more effective, safer ways to respond to youths’ misbehavior and Peter and Judy delivered the gold. Over 200 attendees from 41 states and the District of Columbia received detailed descriptions of how Massachusetts and Illinois recognize the negative impact of isolation and room confinement on youths and established alternative and creative responses for both youths and staff.

Peter highlighted various strategies Massachusetts used, starting with a policy directing all staff on when and where room confinement can be used, an extensive authorization process, behavior-based release plan and both local and national PbS data that measures and monitors the use of isolation and room confinement.

Judy described the five-year-old Illinois agency’s need to change from an adult-oriented culture in the facilities to using youth-focused, research-based practices as alternatives, such as time-outs, mediation and to better keep youths in school, the Ready to Learn program.

PbS has worked with both agencies for many years and we’ve seen clear evidence – the data- documenting tremendous changes in practices and better outcomes for youths and staff. One might think that less room confinement use would lead to more injuries and incidents but that is not the case; PbS data has shown that youths with a history of being locked up have increased odds of victimization including fear for safety, theft of one’s property, being the victim of physical abuse and being in a fight. Isolation is not the answer and we applaud these states for finding alternatives to manage behavioral issues.

Join CJCA for their next webinar "Dual Status Youth and their Families: Altering the Human and Fiscal Toll through Improved Youth & System Outcomes" on Friday, May 16.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Upcoming Webinar on Dual Status Youths and their Families

 

The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, led by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, provides new tools, established resources and technical guidance to support site-based initiatives focused on better serving dual status youths, those who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

On Friday, May 16 from 2-3pm EDT, John Tuell and Jessica Heldman from the Robert. F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps will present “Dual Status Youth and their Families: Altering the Human and Fiscal Toll through Improved Youth & System Outcomes,” a webinar hosted by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA).

This webinar will share the most up to date research and publications available on dual status youths, highlighting an established framework for system collaboration and coordination applied in jurisdictions around the nation. Common challenges and successes in undertaking dual status youth initiatives will be discussed. Presenters will focus on start-up and sustainable methods by which leaders in state and local jurisdictions may improve outcomes for this challenging and disadvantaged population of youths.

Reserve you webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/500565846

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Youths in the Juvenile Justice System Show Their Creativity

 

Youths can create amazing works of art, which leave you in awe (and a little jealous). Performance-based Standards (PbS) is proud to share some of this artwork and the great art programs that allow youths to create them.

Youths at Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility recently participated in the “Recycled Inspiration” competition. For this competition, youths created an art piece out of recycled materials such as plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and take-out containers. The youths made great pieces that ranged from Mario jumping for a coin to a teepee. They learned that they could use almost anything to make art! Judy Thomas, PbS Site Coordinator, said “it was truly great to see our students using their imagination and listen to their ideas for future projects.”

The Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) partnered with Franklin University to provide a unique exhibition and silent auction of artwork from youths in juvenile correctional facilities. The exhibition featured 34 works of art in a variety of mediums including acrylics, pencils, watercolors and mixed media. Twenty-five pieces were put up for sale in the silent auction and all proceeds benefitted the Brian Muha Foundation. Harvey Reed, Director of DYS, said “we were pleased to highlight our youth’s artistic abilities while benefitting the Brian Muha Foundation. Dr. Karen Miner-Romanoff, Program Chair of the Criminal Justice Administration Program at Franklin University, explained “the opportunity for youth to express themselves through art and for the community to experience that art is immeasurable. Franklin University is proud to support this type of innovative educational outreach and partnership with the Ohio Department of Youth Services.”

Youths at STAR Academy in South Dakota participate in the ARTSCORR program, where professional artists and art educators serve residencies at the facility to provide hands-on experience and serve as a positive role model for the youths. The artists work with youths in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpting, beading and needlework. The program helps to provide opportunities for self-expression, build respect for self and others and promote a positive sense of community.

Thanks to the PbS participants who shared their great art programs and events!

The Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) is also conducting a national art contest for youths in the juvenile justice system in celebration of their 20th anniversary.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM

PbS Expands the Family Youth Initiative

 

It has been an exciting time for Performance-based Standards (PbS). We released kiosks which allow youths, staff and families to complete surveys on touch screens. We partnered with THRIVE and the Maine Department of Corrections to integrate trauma-informed care with PbS and have added new trauma-related questions to the youth climate survey. We are also expanding the Family-Youth Initiative (FYI) to help facilities further improve family engagement.

The Family-Youth Initiative was first developed in 2011 when PbS partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice, Family Justice Program to help facilities engage and collaborate with families while youths are in custody. FYI helped PbS create the Family Survey which measures family perceptions of juvenile facilities at the time of a youth’s release. The survey has been in pilot for the past several data collections but beginning on May 1, the survey will be available to all correctional facilities. In addition to the survey expansion, new family-related outcome measures and standards will be available to help facilities further measure and improve family engagement.

Correction facilities are not the only ones who will see changes—Community-based programs participating in PbS will use an improved survey based on the work with Vera and a group of detention facilities will pilot an adjusted family survey.

PbS is excited for all the FYI enhancements, which will help facilities treat each child as one of their own.

This article originally appeared on the CJCA blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 1:04 PM