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Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center Named Finalist for the 2019 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is very pleased to announce Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center (FPJDC) in Covington, LA as one of the finalists for the 2019 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the detention category. FPJDC was selected as a finalist for their comprehensive plan to reduce staff turnover to improve their direct care staff to youth ratio.

The PbS team at FPJDC chose to focus on the average daily ratio of direct care staff to youth after noticing they were significantly lower than the field average in April 2018. This was a concern for them, especially from reflecting on the PbS Blueprint’s attention to the importance of staff building a rapport with youth to help foster a therapeutic environment. Considering the youth at the center, the team considered that maybe the establishment of pro-social connections/rapport with staff was being negatively impacted by high staff turnover.

In order to increase the daily ratio of staff to youth the team was determined to reduce turnover. They conducted in-depth exit interviews with staff who resigned and spoke with current direct care staff and their supervisors. Two significant common threads emerged: staff were burned-out or mentally fatigued, while experiencing a lack of balance between work and personal life due to the odd work hours.

In response, they implemented Groups for Enhancing Mindfulness and Stewardship (GEMS), which provided a venue for staff to discuss areas that created burnout. They also created a Recruiter/ Field Training Officer position, whose sole responsibility was to recruit employees and transition them into the therapeutic juvenile setting. In addition, they created a “Juvenile Detention Staff II” for each shift to help mentor staff. They also surveyed staff about transitioning from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts. An overwhelming 88% voted for 12-hour shifts which allowed them to enjoy more time off.

The facility reduced turnover by 12.3% from October 2017 to 2018. They plan to sustain positive changes by improving the staff-responsive/pro-youth initiatives created during this process, and continuing to enlist suggestions and input from staff at all levels. The most significant change was noted in the October 2018 data collection showing an increase in their ratio total to 1.39.

The PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara Allen-Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Her dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. The award is given to a correction, detention/assessment and community program who best exemplify PbS’ commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Winners of the award will be announced the night of the ceremony on Aug. 2, 2019. Stay tuned for more blogs about the 2019 finalists.

Facility talent show performance

Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center staff

Read more about:  Awards, Barbara Allen-Hagen

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PbS measures and monitors facility practices by collecting and reporting data from administrative records and survey responses from youths, staff and families to provide a holistic picture of the conditions and quality of life in residential facilities, highlights the practices that are effective in promoting youths’ healthy maturation and identifies those that are not. PbS data is reported every April and October.  PbS trains staff to use the information to change practices and support reforms implementing the adolescent development approach.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.