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2014 PbS State Coordinators Training: Helping Kids Succeed

The 2014 State Coordinators Training gathered nearly 30 state coordinators in Tampa, FL Jan. 29 - Feb. 1 at the Marriott Westshore Hotel. This year’s theme, “Helping Kids Succeed” included topics of family engagement, the PbS holistic approach to zero tolerance and trauma and gender responsive programming. The training goal was to help state coordinators rise up to today’s challenges and build resource networks within the PbS community. Throughout the training, state coordinators networked with one another, shared information and resources with other states and came together as a community to ultimately improve the lives of the youths in their care.

The training featured two speakers Ryan Shanahan, Senior Program Associate of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Family Justice Program and Lawanda Ravoira, CEO and founder of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. Shanahan’s presentation “Why Family Engagement is Key” shared how family members and social supports improve outcomes for kids and are valuable resources for youths’ rehabilitation. Ravoira presented “Family Centered Services through a Trauma and Gender Lens” which showed how traumatic experiences affect development and methods of treatment for both girls and boys. Training participants also learned about PbS’ holistic approach to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the work that has been done to help states align with PREA and PbS resources that will be available to create facility environments free of sexual abuse. Marie Swope, Superintendent of Greene County Juvenile Detention, told participants about Greene County that is identifying similarities and the gaps between PbS and PREA and the pilot work underway to develop tools and possible new PbS reports.

Participants also played lead roles over the three days. Shari Wolf from the Ohio Department of Youth Services and Chris Blessinger from the Indiana Division of Youth Services participated in the first PbS Fireside Chat where they reenacted a phone conversation that was initiated after the release of the Department of Justice Report. After Ohio was ranked as one of the facilities with the highest numbers for sexual abuse, Shari was able to use Chris as a resource to help address the report and determine some solutions. The Fireside Chat was a huge success and showed how PbS participants can rely on one another for support to help face some of the challenges in their jurisdictions. Troy Varney from Maine Department of Corrections shared how PbS teams were created in Maine and many other state coordinators shared innovative efforts going on in their own states during the PbS Spotlight: Penny Sampson (NH), Jessica Moncada (ID), Judy Davis (IL), Mike Both (PA), Marq Temple (PA) and Gary Westoby (OR).

Participants also divided into work groups to further the PbS Family-Youth Initiative (FYI). The four work groups were formed as follows: Mike Shores from the Sacramento County Probation Department led a group drafting a family survey for detention centers; Tonya Wright-Cook from the South Dakota Department of Corrections led a group developing recommendations to increase family participation in treatment planning; Dorie Farah from the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services led a group that identified recommendations for a model Family Council and Ray Michaelson from the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice, led a group developing effective approaches to distribute and collect the PbS Family Survey. Thank you to all participants!

In the training evaluations, all participants agreed that the training met their expectations and kept them engaged. One state coordinator said “I enjoyed every aspect of the training and I especially enjoyed gaining more knowledge on all the subjects. I loved the networking and finding new resources.” Participants gave high marks to the Spotlight session and asked for more time at future trainings to hear about initiatives in other states. Many enjoyed the inspirational TED Talks that were integrated throughout the training and said they would begin to share TED Talks to their own staff and leadership teams. Overall, the training was a huge success and well-received by all attendees. A special congratulations to Dorie Farah and Marq Temple who each won a free tablet in the PbS Kiosk raffle. We enjoyed our time in Tampa this year and look forward to next year’s training!


View our online slideshow of the 2014 PbS State Coordinators Training

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM