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Stevenson House Named Finalist for PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is very pleased to announce Stevenson House Detention Center (SHDC) in Milford, DE as one of the finalists for the 2023 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the detention category.

The PbS team at SHDC wanted to maximize time young people participate in school and programs and minimize the time they spent confined to their rooms. They knew it would be beneficial to the individual young people and to the overall facility climate.

SHDC has an average daily population of 28 young people ages 10-18-years old who stay an average of 49 days. The facility uses cognitive behavioral therapy as its behavior management system and placing a young person on Administrative Intervention – confining them to their room on a special unit - is the most severe sanction used and can only be used with the approval of a member of the administrative team. If approved, a young person is given due process by a neutral party. By October 2022, the average hours of confinement dropped by more than half of what it was 18 months earlier in April 2021. During the same time, they similarly reduced the use of physical restraints by more than half and fell below the PbS field average for the first time.

SHDC focused its Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) on what was causing the incidents that led to administrative intervention and improving the approaches to process and prevent future incidents. One strategy focused on increasing training for new staff to include understanding the traumatic impact of confinement on the young people, mentoring by a veteran staff and how to appropriately request and process administrative intervention. A second strategy focused on the young people. If placed on administrative intervention status, SHDC gives a young person the ability to determine how long they stay there. They are given tasks to help them process what happened and how to prevent future incidents and when complete, they return to group activities. While confined to their rooms SHDC ensures they have educational work, recreation, one staff member staying them and daily visits by a mental health professional. When they return to regular activities they are given a contract goal for one week that is shared with and supported by all staff.

Congratulations to the team at SHDC: Superintendent Katherine Kenney, Site Coordinator Kevaughn Laviea, Program Manager Joshua Fields and Director Renee Ciconte. Keep up the great work!

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 has helped drive PbS to its current success. The award is given annually to a correction, detention/assessment and community program who best exemplify PbS’ commitment to treating every young person as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans aimed at creating positive outcomes for young people, staff and families.

Read more about:  Awards, Barbara Allen-Hagen

About the author

Kim Godfrey Lovett

Kim Godfrey Lovett

Kim is the executive director of the PbS Learning Institute. Kim was hired when CJCA incorporated in 1994 and has worked since it's inception to create the PbS system of continuous improvement to help facilities and agencies raise the quality of life and better conditions of confinement in youth facilities nationwide. She earned two master’s degrees: in journalism (Northwestern University) and criminal justice (Northeastern University.) She worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years prior to joining CJCA.

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