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Robert F. Kennedy School Named Finalist for the 2020 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is very pleased to announce Robert F. Kennedy School (RFK) in Middleton, MA as one of the finalists for the 2020 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the correction category. RFK was selected as a finalist for their impressive plan to improve family engagement.

The PbS team’s strategy shifted focus to families in 2013 as part of a statewide initiative to integrate family activities throughout programming to promote interaction, connections and investment in treatment. Within the first three years of the improvement plan, the team was met with several complex administrative challenges, including relocating to a new region 50 miles away that led to a 98% turnover in staff.

Amidst these obstacles, the team continued to take a close look at each barrier to family engagement and began to address each one effectively. Efforts included updating family resource documents with feedback from youths and their families, increased opportunities for family treatment, establishing special visiting times for families, offering and coordinating transportation when possible, increased awareness of family events and implementation of FaceTime as an option for communication.

As in-person family visits are limited now more than ever, a lot can be learned by the work of the team at RFK. They overcame challenges by becoming a family within the facility. The team demonstrates how family engagement can also consist of caseworkers, regional staff and youth enjoying quality meals and activities despite not having family members present.

Stay tuned for more blogs about the 2020 finalists.

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 as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

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.