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Oregon Leads the Way on Youth Offender Education


The Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) has begun offering juvenile offenders free online courses that can lead to college credits. The courses, created by Education Portal, contain brief lectures from technical experts and are designed to help youths pass the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test. CLEP credits are accepted by nearly 3,000 colleges and universities.

Read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Trauma-Informed Care Coming to PbS


My eyes were first opened to the need for juvenile justice programs to incorporate trauma-informed care philosophy and practices by Vincent Felitti, MD, co-principal investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. His presentation left no doubt in my mind that childhood maltreatment impacts later-life health and convinced me with his data that the more negative experiences a child has, the more likely he or she will have multiple later-life ills and issues such as substance abuse, alcoholism, high-risk behaviors, disease and death.

Read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Monday, November 11, 2013 at 4:43 PM

What’s New in Juvenile Justice: November 8 News Roundup


Do you need to catch up on juvenile justice news? We’ve compiled a list of recent news stories, so you can be up to date about what’s going on in juvenile justice.

The Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the National Juvenile Justice Network are hosting the webinar “Better Responses to Youth Who Commit Status Offenses” on November 12 at 4PM EST.

For more juvenile justice news, read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Friday, November 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM

What Youths Say Matters


There’s an old French proverb that says: If you want the truth, ask a child. I’ve taken that to mean telling untruths is something learned later in life, after children learn they can choose their words to achieve a desired outcome – usually to be accepted and praised rather than rejected and punished.

Read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Friday, November 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Youth Justice Awareness Month Comes to a Close, but Efforts Will Continue


Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) aims to bring awareness to the consequences of placing youths in adult facilities. Over the past month, there have been blog posts, reports and events all pertaining to this topic. Below are some of the highlights.

YJAM was started in 2008 by Tracy McClard whose 16 year old son had died in an adult facility. Since YJAM’s inception, organizations, families and advocates have hosted a variety of events to raise awareness.

For more YJAM highlights, read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Bennington School (VT) Creates an Artistic Project to Help Community


A heartwarming story comes out of Vermont: Families with young children who entered the Project Against Violent Encounters (PAVE) program received handmade dolls created by girls from the Bennington School.

Read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 2:06 PM

PbS Helps Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility (MT) Change Attitude and Improve Outcomes


Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility’s recent success in reducing injuries to staff and youth was highlighted in Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Outcomes by Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). Pine Hills’ story shows how Performance-based Standards (PbS) and using data can be the catalyst for change at a juvenile facility.

Read the full article on the CJCA blog.

Monday, October 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM

OJJDP Announces Funding To Support National Girls Institute


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded $400,000 to the American Institutes for Research and the National Crittenton Foundation to support the National Girls Institute (NGI). NGI works to reduce the number of girls in the juvenile justice system and improve the treatment of girls in detention by developing standards of care, providing access to resources, and providing training and technical assistance to professionals working with at-risk and delinquent girls and their families. Announcing the award, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee reiterated the Office’s commitment to advancing the understanding of girls’ issues and improving program and system responses to girls in the juvenile justice system.

Learn more about OJJDP's research and programs related to girls in the juvenile justice system.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Series of Briefs on Trauma-Informed Approach Available Online


The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services, has released six online briefs that discuss the key elements of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system. Topics include current issues and new directions in creating trauma-informed systems, assessment and interventions, family engagement, continuity of care and cross-system collaboration, trauma-informed care in facilities, and racial disparities within the system.

Access additional resources from NCTSN.

Read about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Working Definition of Trauma and Principles and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Preventing Gang Membership Report Available


The National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published “Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership.” Written by leading public health and criminal justice researchers, “Changing Course” provides principles to help practitioners and policymakers make decisions based on the best available evidence to prevent kids from joining a gang. The report examines why youth are attracted to gangs, explores key child development issues and risks for joining a gang, and offers prevention strategies that a variety of stakeholders — such as schools, law enforcement, public health, and communities — can use to address their specific needs.

Download the executive summary and full report.

Watch an interview with Tom Simon, Deputy Associate Director for Science at CDC, on preventing youth from joining gangs.

Access related resources from the National Gang Center.

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Major gains for family engagement in Indiana’s juvenile justice system


Last year, the Vera Institute of Justice’s Family Justice Program wrapped up a multi-year project to develop and pilot family engagement standards for the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute. All juvenile corrections facilities participating in PbS are now collecting information related to family engagement—including a survey of family members twice a year. There are currently 48 facilities across 15 states collecting family surveys with a total of 1,033 family surveys collected since the start of the project.

One of the original pilot states is already benefiting from having data on family engagement after implementing the new standards last fall. Based on feedback from their PbS reports, Indiana’s Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility decided to increase their rates of visitation. They analyzed their visitation policies and made drastic changes—opening up visitation hours to just about any time a family member can get to the facility. In addition to the expanded visiting hours, all restrictions on the number of visits a young person could receive were lifted.

These changes went into effect at the beginning of this year and, after just a few short months, the staff are seeing big changes. Not only did they successfully double their normal rate of visitation, they saw improved behavior by young people in the facility. The Family Justice Program found a similar correlation between improved behavior and visits in Ohio.

Based on feedback from the family surveys, Indiana also recognized that families were not involved in treatment and reentry plans. In response, facility staff now call parents to discuss progress and behavior issues. Additionally, a family council was created. The family council, called PIES (Parent Information and Education Session), is designed to improve communication between the facility and parents. For example, acting on the council’s suggestion, the facility now runs family fun nights.

Vera applauds Indiana’s Division of Youth Services for having the courage to reflect on their practice, open themselves up to conversations with families, and make changes to increase opportunities for youth and families to connect.

This article was retrieved from the VERA Institute of Justice blog.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM

OJJDP Releases Report of Family Listening Sessions on Juvenile Justice


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released "OJJDP Family Listening Sessions: Executive Summary." In 2011, OJJDP and the Campaign for Youth Justice convened four listening sessions involving families and youth who have had direct experiences with the juvenile justice system at the local or state levels. This report summarizes the participants' experiences and their recommendations for reform. The listening sessions provide OJJDP, state juvenile justice agencies, and other stakeholders with a greater understanding of the challenges families face when their child becomes involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems.


Read the full report online.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Briefing on State Juvenile Justice Reforms: Connecticut, Texas, and Ohio


Today at 4 pm EDT, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) will hold a panel discussion entitled States’ Innovations in Juvenile Justice: Investing in Better Outcomes for Youth. Murphy will bring together state and federal officials, lawmakers, and juvenile justice experts and advocates for a 90 minute panel discussion on juvenile justice reform in America.

Several states across the U.S. have developed and implemented innovative reforms to reduce the number of children committed to juvenile detention facilities, decrease school referrals to the juvenile court system, and keep children in their communities and schools. Connecticut, Texas, and Ohio have led the way in recent years by adopting these new approaches with great success. Not only have these states saved millions of dollars in wasteful spending and cut back on harmful, ineffective approaches, but they have improved outcomes for children. By reinvesting funds back into programs proven to work, states can grow even more savings by helping children become productive adults.

The discussion will be livestreamed on this page at 4 PM EDT.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Illinois Raises Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction


On July 8, 2013, Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation into law that raises the age of the state’s juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17 year olds charged with felonies. This legislation will allow youth to be tried as juveniles and access more rehabilitative services in the juvenile justice system rather than receiving adult criminal convictions and records. The law does not change state laws that allow youth who commit certain serious crimes, such as first degree murder, to be automatically waived to adult criminal court. Illinois joins 38 states that currently prosecute 17 year olds charged with felonies in juvenile court.


Access information and download “Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction,” the 2-year study recommending that Illinois expand the jurisdiction of its juvenile courts to include 17 year olds charged with felonies.

View the Illinois law raising the age for the state’s juvenile court jurisdiction on felony cases.

Monday, July 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The Pew Charitable Trusts Release Juvenile Justice Reform Briefs


The Pew Charitable Trusts has released two Web briefs:


View and download “State-Local Partnership in Ohio Cuts Juvenile Recidivism, Costs.”

View and download “Bending the Curve: Juvenile Corrections Reform in Texas.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Vera Institute of Justice Releases New Resources


The Vera Institute of Justice has released two new publications:

Download “Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice

Download “The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth’s Behavior and School Performance

Read about the OJJDP and MacArthur Foundation partnership and support of the Models for Change initiative.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Family Surveys Show Overwhelmingly Positive Engagement


The Performance-based Standards (PbS) Family-Youth Initiative (FYI) collected more than 500 surveys from family members of youths either currently in or recently released from secure facilities and the April 2013 results show the vast majority reported positive experiences with facilities.

“This is a very exciting and essential component of PbS and we’re pleased to see these first results show better-than-expected relationships between facilities and families,” said PbS Learning Institute Executive Director Kim Godfrey. “And more importantly, we’ve already seen facilities change practices in direct response to what families have said to give families more access to their children and information about their treatment.”

The families surveyed came from nearly 30 facilities in eight states. All PbS correction participants were given the option in January to participate in pilot testing the new family survey. The survey is being modified for short-term detention centers and a similar family survey has been used in the community-based PbS programs since 2008.

Some of the results included:

  • Most (86%) families felt welcome at the facility,
  • Most (88%) felt respected by staff members,
  • Most (84%) of families felt their opinion regarding their child’s rehabilitation was valued by staff,
  • Nearly all (95%) families understood and agreed with their child’s treatment plans,
  • Almost all (95%) families understood and agreed with their child’s discharge plans, and
  • Most (84%) reported that they knew whom to contact if they had any questions about their child’s well-being.

FYI was developed by PbS in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice, Family Justice Program. Since 2011, PbS and Vera have worked with an Advisory Board made up of family representatives, facility superintendents, researchers and experts to develop a new PbS section to guide best practices to engage and work with families.

In the next phase of this pilot PbS will be rolling out many of the family related questions to all participants. Beginning with the October 2013 reporting period, all facilities participating in PbS will see results from the few additional questions to the youth and staff climate surveys, youth records and the administrative form. Participation in the collection of family surveys will remain optional for October.

If your facility is interested in distributing and collecting the PbS Family Survey, please contact your coach or the Helpdesk at help@pbstandards.org.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 4:34 PM

New Additions to PbS Surveys for October


For the next phase in the Family-Youth Initiative pilot, all facilities participating in PbS will see additional questions to the data collection forms. The information below shows the questions that are being added to each survey starting with the October 2013 collection period.

Administrative Form:

  1. How many facility events were open to families and supportive people during the data collection period?
  2. Does your facility have a family council or a formalized group of parents and family representatives that serves as the liaison for families to the facility administration?
  3. Are family members or representatives included when the facility and/or agency conducts policy reviews?

Staff Climate Survey:

  1. Do staff members talk with youths about the youths’ families and other supportive people?

  2. Which of the following statements are true for you?

    -I have better results working with the youths when I include families.
    -The training I received has improved the way I interact with families. -I value family members and youths’ social supports as partners in my work with the youths.

Youth Climate Survey:

  1. When you leave here, who will you call when you need to talk or need help working out a problem?
  2. Are staff members interested in what you have to say?
  3. Are staff members interested in what your family has to say?
  4. Have staff members asked you questions about how your family and friends help you?
  5. Which of the following statements are true about this facility?
    -My family feels welcomed at this facility.
    -My family talks regularly with staff at this facility.
    -My family and staff generally get along with each other.
  6. Do you have any children?

Youth Record:

  1. Were family and/or supportive people included in the youth’s treatment plan?

  2. Were family therapy sessions suggested in the youth’s treatment plan?

  3. Were the strengths and needs of the youth’s family and supportive people assessed?

  4. Does the youth’s aftercare plan include identification of people who will support the youth in the community?

  5. Number of treatment team meetings that had a family member or other supportive person participate:

  6. Did a family member or supportive person sign the aftercare treatment and placement plan?

  7. Does the youth have any children?

Downloadable copies of the October 2013 PbS Youth Record are currently available in the resources section of the PbS website. All other surveys mentioned above will be posted to the website soon. If you have any questions, please contact the PbS Helpdesk at 1-888-727-5482 or help@pbstandards.org

Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Progress at Ohio Department of Youth Services Leads Federal Court to Find Quality Assurance and Improvement Practices Compliant


For Immediate Release: June 20, 2013

Contact: Kim Parsell 614-466-9854 / 614-623-2209 Kim.Parsell@dys.ohio.gov

Progress at Ohio Department of Youth Services Leads Federal Court to Find Quality Assurance and Improvement Practices Compliant

Agency has demonstrated to the Court that it is able to identify and address challenges in order maintain and improve conditions for youth

Columbus, Ohio- Today U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley found that the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) has demonstrated that it is able to identify and address challenges through its quality assurance and improvement processes.

“We are proud of our staff who have been working hard to reach this milestone achievement,” said Harvey J. Reed, Director of DYS. “Our quality assurance process helps us maintain high standards to make a difference in the lives of the young people we serve.”

“Effective quality assurance and quality improvement practices are key to any institutional reform effort, because they demonstrate to the Court, plaintiffs, and community stakeholders that the agency is capable of identifying and addressing problems related to conditions of confinement as they arise,” said Will Harrell, Lead Monitor. “The agency thus demonstrates that court oversight is no longer necessary by establishing that it can effectively monitor itself.”

“We congratulate DYS on all the progress made over these last five years including a substantial reduction in the institutional population, increased support for community-based treatment, improved treatment and education for youth in DYS custody, and instituting a quality assurance system that will provide a basis for continued improvement,” said Al Gerhardstein and Kim Brooks Tandy, attorneys representing youth. “DYS deserves a great deal of credit for its steady progress, and we are confident that we will see similar progress on the areas that remain in the case.”

Focused court monitoring will continue for mental health services and the special management unit. While some challenges remain, the Department is committed to continuous improvement in its facilities and programs to promote the continued rehabilitation of the youth in its care.

DYS is the juvenile corrections system for the state of Ohio and is statutorily mandated to confine felony offenders, ages 10 to 21, who have been adjudicated and committed by one of Ohio's 88 county juvenile courts. DYS operates four juvenile correctional facilities, provides parole services from five regional sites and funds and supports 625 community programs throughout the state.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The Comeback States: Reducing Juvenile Incarceration in the United States


The Comeback States, a new report that NJJN co-authored with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, examines how the turnaround in the number of detained or incarcerated youth came about. In 2000, more than 100,000 kids were being held in detention centers or incarcerated. Just a decade later, there was a drop of almost 40%. The report examines policy reforms nine states have adopted that reflect a new approach to addressing youth incarceration.

Download the report

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

OJJDP Announces New Funding Opportunities


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following fiscal year 2013 funding opportunities:

  • National Mentoring Resource Center. OJJDP seeks applicants to develop the center’s capabilities to provide mentoring resources, references, and training materials to support implementation of mentoring practices that are evidence and research based. Applications are due by July 23, 2013.
  • Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems Program. This program, a collaboration between OJJDP and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking, will fund agencies that use a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to providing intervention and supervision services for youth with sexual behavior problems and treatment services for their child victims and families. Applications are due by July 25, 2013.

Visit OJJDP’s funding page for more information about this solicitation and other current funding opportunities.

Monday, June 17, 2013 at 12:32 PM

OJJDP Bulletin Examines Victimization of Youth in Residential Placement


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released “Nature and Risk of Victimization: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement.” This is the final bulletin in OJJDP’s series on the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, which gathered data directly from youth in custody. The survey findings signal an urgent need for policy and program initiatives to reduce victimization and improve protections for confined youth.


View the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement.

View and download “Nature and Risk of Victimization: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement.”

Order print copies online from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Monday, June 17, 2013 at 12:11 PM

OYA Offers Innovative Education Options to At-Risk Youth


June 7, 2013

Media Contacts:
C. J. Drake, OYA Communications Office
503-385-5899 or CJ.Drake@oya.state.or.us
Sara Inman, Education Portal
650-962-1200, ext. 521 or sara@education-portal.com

As the first round of Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) kids graduate from their facility’s high school this weekend, the agency is introducing a first-of-its-kind program to help troubled youth catch up on educational opportunities they missed before incarceration.

Known as Education Portal, the program offers free, online college courses that lead to widely accepted college credit. Oregon will be the first state in the nation to offer an array of college courses to juvenile offenders.

Because kids have limited internet access in OYA facilities during school hours, they will have more opportunities to learn from college video DVDs after school. Using Education Portal, youth can earn credit for the first two years of college and significantly reduce the time and cost of earning a degree.

“We who work with troubled kids are only too aware of the school-to-prison pipeline,” said OYA Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “When at-risk youth arrive at OYA, they are often years behind in high school, have learning disabilities, and have suffered from abuse and neglect. We are deeply grateful to Education Portal for this partnership that offers kids a chance to make up for lost time and educational opportunities.”

Each DVD contains a series of 5-minute lectures on math, English or other topics taught by experienced instructors. Each lecture is followed by a brief quiz that is instantly graded. The courses are designed specifically to help OYA youth pass credit-granting exams such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test. CLEP credit is accepted by nearly 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

"We are proud to partner with OYA’s efforts to bring college education to incarcerated students and reduce recidivism," said Ben Wilson, Education Portal president.

Approximately 300 of the more than 800 youth in OYA’s 10 facilities statewide are eligible to participate in the Education Portal program. After they leave OYA’s care, they can continue learning by using the company’s internet-based courses.

Fifteen youth from Trask River High School at Camp Tillamook and Tillamook Youth Correctional Facility will graduate Saturday, with other OYA facilities holding ceremonies throughout June.

Click here for a video that explains Education Portal’s program for incarcerated youth.

The Oregon Youth Authority is the state's juvenile justice agency, reducing victimization by helping at-risk young people lead productive, crime-free lives. Learn more at www.oregon.gov/oya and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/oregonyouth.

Education Portal makes education accessible through free, online courses that help students earn widely-accepted college credit, as well as pass the GED exam. Taught by experienced instructors and subject matter experts, Education Portal's 50+ courses consist of over 4,000 fun and engaging micro-lessons designed specifically for the online learner. Since their launch in 2011, over 2 million students have used Education Portal's free online courses. Education Portal is owned by Remilon, LLC, and based in Mountain View, California. Learn more at www.education-portal.com.

Original press release from the OYA website.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:32 AM

OJJDP Releases Spring 2013 Issue of Journal of Juvenile Justice


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has released the spring 2013 issue of the online Journal of Juvenile Justice.

Articles in this issue include:

  • Family-Focused Juvenile Reentry Services: A Quasi-Experimental Design Evaluation of Recidivism Outcomes.
  • An Examination of the Early “Strains” of Imprisonment Among Young Offenders Incarcerated for Serious Crimes.
  • Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory and Court-Involved Adolescent Females: An Exploration of Parent-Child Relationships and Student-Teacher Relationships.
  • One Family, One Judge Practice Effects on Children: Permanency Outcomes on Case Closure and Beyond.
  • An Outcome-Based Evaluation of Functional Family Therapy for Youth With Behavioral Problems.
  • Relating Resilience Factors and Decision Making in Two Groups of Underserved Adolescents: Implications for Intervention.


Access past issues of the semiannual, peer-reviewed journal.

Submit manuscripts for future issues.

Friday, June 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

OJJDP Bulletin Examines PTSD, Trauma, and Psychiatric Disorders in Youth Detainees


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released "PTSD, Trauma, and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth." The bulletin is part of OJJDP’s Beyond Detention series, which examines the results of the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL. This bulletin presents findings on the prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among juvenile detainees and PTSD’s tendency to co-occur with other psychiatric disorders.

Learn more about the Northwestern Juvenile Project, cosponsored by OJJDP.
View and download "PTSD, Trauma, and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth."
Order print copies online from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

State Juvenile Corrections Programs Continue To Shine In PbS Project


May 31, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael Winder, Communications & Information Manager

State Juvenile Corrections Programs Continue To Shine In PbS Project

Custer, S.D.- For an unprecedented third time, all of the state’s juvenile corrections programs have reached the highest level status possible under a national project that measures conditions and treatment services provided to incarcerated youth.

All three of the reporting programs at the State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy near Custer obtained Level 4 status during the April 2013 data collection period for the Performance-based Standards (PbS) project. South Dakota became the first state to have all of its reporting programs achieve Level 4 status in April 2011 and repeated the feat in October 2012.

“Since 2009, we have had one or more of our STAR Academy programs maintain a Level 4 status in the PbS project,” said Denny Kaemingk, Secretary of Corrections. “This is a tribute to the dedicated team utilizing evidence-based practices to provide the very best care possible for the youth entrusted to us.”

“Having all three STAR Academy programs repeat the accomplishment of obtaining the highest level possible is quite remarkable,” said Doug Herrmann, Director of Juvenile Services. “Through the commitment of Tonya Wright-Cook as our PbS coordinator, our other agency partners, dedicated staff and the leadership of STAR Superintendent Jeff Haiar and Director of Juvenile Community Services Kristi Bunkers, South Dakota leads the nation in juvenile corrections.”

PbS is a program developed by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) for agencies and facilities to identify, monitor and improve conditions and treatment services provided to incarcerated youths using national standards and outcome measures.

Data is collected twice per year to measure safety, security, order, medical and mental health services, justice and legal rights, programming and reintegration planning. STAR Academy has participated in the PbS project since 2001. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed an executive order in 2012 requiring the state juvenile corrections programs to continue participating in the project and to report annually to the Legislature on the progress of the project.

There are currently 156 facilities in the nation participating in the PbS project. Nineteen of those facilities reached Level 4 status for the last reporting period, with three of them being from South Dakota.

For more information on STAR Academy’s participation in the PbS project or to view the most recent annual report, visit the Department of Corrections website at: http://doc.sd.gov/juvenile/pbsp.aspx.

For more information on the PbS project, visit the CJCA website at: http://pbstandards.org/initiatives/performance-based-standards-pbs.

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 4:39 PM

OJJDP Announces New Funding Opportunities


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following fiscal year 2013 funding opportunities:

  • National Juvenile Justice Information Sharing Training and Technical Assistance Program. OJJDP seeks applications for its national program to deliver training, technical assistance, and implementation support for information sharing among juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, education, and other youth-serving agencies. This program will enhance agencies’ ability to provide services and ensure better outcomes for children, youth, and families. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 9, 2013.
  • Division of Innovation and Research Fellowship Program on Juvenile Justice Data. The fellowship will provide an opportunity for researchers with experience and expertise in juvenile justice, survey methodology, and statistics to help implement collaborative cross-agency strategies, policies, and programs to enhance and improve data for use by policymakers and practitioners nationwide. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 15, 2013

Visit OJJDP’s funding page for more information about this solicitation and other current funding opportunities.

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Press Release: The Training Curriculum and Program Guide on Suicide Detection and Prevention in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities and Residential Programs


The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) recently announced the availability of the Training Curriculum and Program Guide on Suicide Detection and Prevention in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities and Residential Programs, a comprehensive 190-page manual developed by Lindsay M. Hayes. The manual, contained in a three-ring binder and accompanied by a CD of 163 PowerPoint slides, is available for $199, including shipping/handling.

This Curriculum is designed to equip direct care, security, medical, mental health, and education personnel with a comprehensive understanding of suicidal behavior as it relates to the facility environment of a detention center, training school, and/or residential treatment center. It includes a discussion on juvenile suicide research, guiding principles to suicide prevention, why facility environments are conducive to suicidal behavior, staff attitudes about suicide, potential predisposing factors to suicide, warning signs and symptoms, identification of suicide risk despite the denial of risk, high-risk periods, components of the facility’s suicide prevention policy, instruction regarding the proper role of staff in responding to a suicide attempt, critical incident stress debriefing, and liability issues.

The manual is also a Program Guide and provides facility administrators a virtual blueprint for development and/or revision of suicide prevention programs. Eight critical components to a suicide prevention program are outlined in detail — staff training, intake screening/assessment, communication, safe housing, levels of observation/management, intervention, reporting, and follow-up/morbidity-mortality review.

For more information on the Training Curriculum and Program Guide’s content and availability, contact Lindsay M. Hayes, Project Director, NCIA, 40 Lantern Lane, Mansfield, MA 02048, (508) 337-8806, e-mail: Lhayesta@msn.com, or visit this link:


Monday, May 13, 2013 at 4:33 PM

New Report Highlights Effective Programs, Tools for Practitioners on Family Engagement in the Juvenile Justice System


Today the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), an 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, Family Comes First: A Workbook to Transform the Justice System by Partnering With Families.

The report is the first comprehensive analysis of current family engagement and family partnership practices in juvenile justice systems around the country and provides practical tools and resources to juvenile justice system practitioners in undertaking a family-driven approach to juvenile justice.

"This report underscores the critical importance of involving families in juvenile justice," says Liz Ryan, President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. "Family Comes First serves as a guide for juvenile justice system practitioners to implement a new, family-driven approach to juvenile justice."

The workbook was funded in large part by a generous grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) conducted listening sessions with families impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice system. CFYJ also surveyed juvenile justice system leaders in juvenile corrections and juvenile detention and found that families and juvenile justice system leaders agree that:

  • Basic information about the process of the court system, families' legal rights, and the role of the various players in the system is not available to families and prevents effectively addressing any treatment needs of the child;
  • Economic and social supports necessary to meet the needs of children are not available to families and prevent the full participation of families in the existing activities offered by the justice system;
  • Justice systems and agencies are not staffed or resourced appropriately to effectively support families;
  • An opportunity to participate in decision-making at all levels should be provided to families; and
  • Family supports from other families and system staff will ensure that youth achieve positive outcomes.

The report features several family-driven approaches and programs, including:

  • The Youth Reception Center in Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Family Group Decision-making in Pennsylvania
  • Southwest Key Program (national) based in Austin, Texas
  • Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (national) featuring programs in Atlantic City, New Jersey; South Bronx and Newburgh, New York
  • The Center for Young Women's Development in San Francisco, California

Public opinion polling commissioned by GBA Strategies shows that the public strongly supports family engagement strategies, including requiring that incarcerated youth are placed in facilities close to their families and communities, letting youth offenders see their families at least once a week, as well as designing treatment and rehabilitation plans that include a youth's family in planning and services.

Recommendations in the report include:

Federal policymakers:

  • A National Technical Assistance Center on Family Engagement should be created to provide support to state and local justice and child-serving agencies interested in starting or expanding family engagement programs;
  • A National Family Resource Center should be established to serve families in the justice system; and
  • The federal government should also fund state and regional Parental Information Resource Centers for families involved in the justice system, and these centers should be co-located and coordinated with existing parent centers already funded by other child-serving agencies.

State and local policymakers:

  • Each agency and program having contact with children and families involved in the justice system should hire or appoint a staff person, preferably a family member or former system-involved youth, to coordinate family engagement efforts and activities;
  • Every justice system agency and program with responsibility for children and youth should conduct a comprehensive assessment to develop specific strategies to implement a family-driven approach to juvenile justice; and
  • Existing federal and state funding sources should be identified to support family engagement programs and related services to families in the justice system.

View the Executive Summary of the Family Comes First Report

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Butterfly Release Symbolic for Wards


He pressed two fingers together, securing a butterfly's wings in between. Firm enough to keep it from flying. Gentle enough to keep its new wings from tearing.

Joseph Galindo, 19, helped the once-tiny egg transform to an exquisite painted lady the past several weeks, a metamorphosis that conceivably reflects his own path to empathy amid the unforeseen tragedy of losing his own grandmother to violence.

Galindo and two other wards at Stockton's N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility - Andrew Chavez, 20, and Kyle Raridon, 19 - have raised hundreds of butterflies that are donated to victims groups.

Galindo has spent six months at Chaderjian, one of four state facilities that houses wards with some of the most violent convictions, for a crime he committed in Bakersfield.

In the program, butterflies are used to symbolize that the young wards can change their lives.

"It first starts out like a little speck," a soft-spoken Galindo said as he opened a plastic container with pin head-size eggs.

He stood in a prison cell that is converted to a butterfly habitat.

The specks must be incubated and fed a mix of specialized powder food, vinegar and water. Galindo is responsible for monitoring the larvae. They depend on him for survival.

...read the article in full here.

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 10:25 AM

The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods Recognizes South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice


The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods held its sixth annual awards banquet and Hall of Fame Introduction ceremony Thursday, April 25. Karen Tanner, the wife of University of South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner, was the guest speaker.

The ceremony focused on young people. Chase Mizzell, a student at the University of South Carolina, was awarded the Outstanding Youth Leadership award. A program of the Department of Juvenile Justice, Behind the Fence, was presented the Community Leader of Excellence award. Stacy Atkinson received the award of behalf of the department. Dr. Mary Baskin Waters, president of the CCN, recognized students from the University of South Carolina and Benedict College who attended the banquet.

Waters received a surprise of her own, the Award of Special Recognition. “I was very surprised and very honored to get that. This means more to me than any award I’ve gotten,” Waters said. Following the June 2013 meeting, her time as president of CCN will end.

Paul Bouknight from the Cotton Town/Bellevue community and Janie Nelson from Keenan Terrace were inducted into the CCN Hall of Fame. Florida Boyd from Golden Acres, Evelyn Causey from Brandon Acres/Cedar Terrace, and Donzell Belton from Edisto Court were each presented the Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year award.

Cynthia Pryor Hardy from OnPoint and Deserving Divas, Karen Alexander from Auntie Karen Foundation, and the Richland County Neighborhood Council each received Special Recognition awards for their organizations.

Friday, May 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth's Behavior and School Performance: Findings from the Families as Partners Project


From February 2010 through March 2013, Vera’s Family Justice Program partnered with the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) on the Families as Partners project. The work sought to promote better outcomes for incarcerated youth by helping staff draw on youth’s families as a source of material and emotional support, encouraging visits and correspondence between youth and their families, and increasing family involvement in youth’s treatment and reentry plans. DYS is the first agency to implement Vera’s Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool, which helps staff identify youth family and social support. The research component of the project analyzed how family support affected outcomes for youth during their incarceration. This brief summarizes the findings, which show that sustained family contact leads to improved youth behavior, including school performance.


Download the Family Visitation and Youth Behavior Brief

Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Deadline Extended for Youth in Custody Certificate Program


The deadline for the Youth in Custody Certificate Program has been extended until May 17, 2013.

The Youth in Custody Certificate Program offers leaders the opportunity to develop capacity, effectuate change, and build on system improvements over time. The program, hosted by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, NC4YC, the Missouri Department of Social Services' Division of Youth Services, and the Council of State Governments Justice Center, shines a brighter light on serving the high-risk juvenile offender population and helps leaders begin or accelerate systemic change to improve outcomes for youth. Modules in the training curriculum include:

  • Culture Change and Leadership;
  • Family and Youth Engagement;
  • Assessment;
  • Treatment, Services, and Reentry; and
  • Expert Panel of Leaders (Providing Real-Life Examples of Reform).

Participants will receive a certificate from Georgetown University recognizing their successful completion of the program, and become a part of CJJR's Fellows Network, a mutually supportive network of leaders focused on multi-systems reforms efforts designed to better serve youth known to multiple systems. They will also receive technical assistance from national experts on their Capstone projects after they return home from the program.

The program takes place August 19-23, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Applications are now due May 17, 2013. While individuals may apply, applicants are encouraged to apply in teams to increase their ability to implement reforms to the system upon completion of the program. More information about the program, including the application, selection criteria, and information on tuition subsidies, can be found here.

Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Attorney General Outlines Initial Steps for Response to Children’s Exposure to Violence


In an April 12, 2013, address delivered at the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention quarterly meeting in Washington, DC, Attorney General Eric Holder outlined a series of action items for implementing the recommendations of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The recommendations for preventing and reducing the impact of children’s exposure to violence were set forth in the “Report of the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence,” released December 2012 as part of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative. Attorney General Holder also announced the creation of a task force, to be led by Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, that will address violence against children in tribal communities.

Read the Attorney General’s address to the Coordinating Council. The council, chaired by the Attorney General, coordinates federal programs relating to juvenile delinquency prevention and missing and exploited children. Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, serves as vice chair.

Order a printed copy of the Report of the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Vera Releases New Guide for Juvenile Justice Service Providers


Demonstrating that a program accomplishes its stated goals is increasingly important for social service organizations—funders and clients want to see the evidence of successful outcomes. Although a full-scale evaluation can be a costly and overwhelming goal, adopting the information-gathering and self-reflective approaches that lead up to an evaluation can in themselves strengthen an agency’s focus and procedural fidelity.

As part of the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change initiative, the Vera Institute of Justice today published Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice. It describes the process that assesses whether a program qualifies as evidence based—which often determines an organization’s funding and the growth of its client pool—and explains how programs can prepare to be evaluated.

Vera has worked with juvenile justice system service providers in many settings as they build and monitor their programs. It produced this handbook on the basis of experience in the field, and in collaboration with the Institute for Public Health and Justice at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

While the guide grew out of requests from juvenile justice service providers for a roadmap toward becoming an evidence-based practice, its recommendations have applications beyond juvenile justice. “We believe the systematic approach to collecting information on goals, treatment methods, and outcomes can benefit other social service providers seeking to measure the efficacy of their interventions,” said Annie Salsich, director of Vera’s Center on Youth Justice.

Download Measuring Success Guide

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Funding Opportunities


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following fiscal year 2013 funding opportunities:

  • Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation Program. OJJDP will fund field-initiated studies that advance the understanding of how the application of a child and adolescent development framework to juvenile justice system approaches, policies, and programs impacts delinquency, juvenile justice system involvement, and recidivism. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29, 2013.
  • VOCA (Victims of Child Abuse Act) Regional Children's Advocacy Centers Program. OJJDP will fund four regional children’s advocacy centers to provide training, technical assistance, and information services to multidisciplinary teams, local programs, and state chapter organizations of children's advocacy centers. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29, 2013.
  • National Girls Institute. Through this solicitation, OJJDP will support its National Girls Institute, whose mission is to improve girls’ delinquency programming and practices at the national, state, tribal, and local levels; reduce the number of girls in the juvenile justice system; and improve the treatment of girls who are already in detention. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 30, 2013.
  • National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Youth in Custody. Through this solicitation, OJJDP will fund the National Center for Youth in Custody, which provides resources, training, and technical assistance for juvenile detention and confinement facilities, adult facilities that hold juveniles, and communities working to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 30, 2013.

Visit OJJDP's funding page for more information about these solicitations and other current funding opportunities.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Additional Funding Opportunites from OJJDP


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following fiscal year 2013 funding opportunities:

Visit OJJDP’s funding page for more information about this solicitation and other current funding opportunities.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Words Unlocked: A Poetry Initiative for Youth in Facilities


In the spirit of National Poetry Month (April), and in an effort to encourage literary exploration by young people held in juvenile facilities, the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) is sponsoring Words Unlocked, a month-long initiative that includes practitioner-ready curricular materials, a nationwide competition, and publishing venues for student work.

Schools and educational programs in juvenile facilities around the U.S. are encouraged to start the initiative on April 1, 2013. All materials for the initiative are available at the CEEAS wiki site, Words Unlocked. The wiki has a robust set of tools available for public use including:

  • Daily lesson plans;
  • Teacher-ready classroom materials, rubrics and assessments;
  • Teacher tips;
  • A seven-day and a month-long poetry curriculum; and
  • Handouts and materials available in SMARTBoard, ActivBoard, MS Word, and PDF formats.

Words Unlocked includes a nationwide poetry competition open to any youth held in a secure facility. Poets R. Dwayne Betts and Jimmy Santiago Baca will serve as the lead judges. In addition, CEEAS will engage the public in the judging by running a nationwide poll using Twitter.

Finally, CEEAS will publish an on-line and iBook anthology featuring student poetry, and will provide training for schools on how to publish their own anthologies. The CEEAS blog will feature poems submitted during the initiative.

Visit the Words Unlocked wiki site today to begin planning for this amazing event!

Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 10:40 AM

OJJDP Announces Funding Opportunities


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following fiscal year 2013 funding opportunities:

Model Programs Guide. Funding is available to develop and expand content for OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide (MPG), an online resource for practitioners and policymakers of more than 200 evidence-based juvenile justice intervention and prevention programs and practices. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 20, 2013.

National Intertribal Youth Leadership Development Initiative. OJJDP is seeking applicants to plan and implement an initiative to enhance tribal efforts to increase youth engagement, coordination, and action related to juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and public safety in Indian country. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 20, 2013.

Visit OJJDP’s funding page for more information about this solicitation and other current funding opportunities.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Barbara Allen-Hagen Award Application Now Available


Performance-based Standards (PbS) is proud to present the application for the 2013 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award. The award was established in 2007 and is given annually to one detention and one correction facility that best exemplify the PbS underlying principles supported by Ms. Allen-Hagen that facilities provide safe environments for youths and staff that are conducive to learning and changing behavior; and staff and managers treat all youths coming into the facility as if the next child to be admitted was one of their own. This year, a third national award will be given to a community-based program in recognition of exemplary treatment of youths.

Ms. Allen-Hagen served as the PbS project monitor at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice from 1995 when the project was launched until her retirement May 2006. She was instrumental in obtaining federal support for PbS and was a continuous voice advocating on behalf of youths in the juvenile justice system.

In 2012, winners from Ohio, Utah received the award for their extraordinary work at reducing injury from youth on youth assaults and safety through less punitive practices and increased communications.

The award application will run from March 18 through April 30, 2013. This year's award ceremony will be held in October in Chicago in conjunction with the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) First Annual All Directors Leadership Institute.

PbS and CbS Participants must be logged in to apply. The application can be found under surveys.

Monday, March 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Webinar To Address National Juvenile Defender Standards


On March 20, 2013, at 1 p.m. ET, the National Juvenile Justice Network will host the 1-hour Webinar “The National Juvenile Defense Standards: Why They Matter for Advocates.” The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) recently released the Standards, which seek to strengthen and clarify juvenile defense practice and policy, elevate the practice of juvenile law, and improve the delivery of legal services to all indigent youth. NJDC managing attorney Tim Curry will discuss:

  • Where defender obligations under standards and juvenile policy advocacy intersect.
  • How defenders and advocates can work together to promote systemic reform.
  • How the standards guide the relationship between the defender, the child client, and the child’s parents.


You can register for this free webinar

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative funded the development of the Standards. Learn more about the initiative.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation


The National Youth Screening & Assessment Project (NYSAP) has published Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation. This comprehensive guide draws on years of research and actual experiences implementing risk assessment in juvenile justice settings as part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative. It provides practical insights and a structure for jurisdictions, juvenile probation or centralized statewide agencies striving to implement risk assessment or to improve their current risk assessment practices.

You can view the related appendices for the publication.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 10:38 AM

The Challenge of Change


The 2013 Performance-based Standards (PbS) State Coordinators Training convened 30 state agency leaders in Houston Jan. 23-25. Participants learned, shared and brainstormed solutions and innovations to create safe and healthy facility cultures using PbS. Entitled “The Challenge of Change: Beginning with the End in Mind,” the training featured a presentation by behavior management expert Frank Picone on strategies to create a positive work culture in the midst of a changing environment. Panel discussions focused on ways to use PbS data to create facility and systems change, approaches to ensure buy-in by all agency levels to promote and sustain PbS and practices that use incentive-based behavior management systems as a tool for positive change. State Coordinators also participated in a small group exercise to create presentations for agency leadership, which were shared with all and critiqued by a team of colleagues. Also during the busy agenda, participants used the time together to network, share experiences and strategize ways to measure, report and communicate the effectiveness of behavior management systems using PbS.

The training produced six PowerPoint presentations that are currently available to State Coordinators on the PbS website. Designated team leaders shared their jurisdiction’s PbS data with groups and cooperatively analyzed what was working in the facility and key areas that needed improvement. Each group used PbS outcome measure reports, summary incident reports, and youth and staff survey reports to create presentations to present to agency leadership toward keeping them informed. State Coordinators shared various recommendations that included evidence based interventions, gender-specific considerations, and positive incentives to minimize use of confinement and restraints.

The training also introduced and highlighted work in several states using PbS’ new initiatives:

  • The Family and Social Supports standards and family survey, pilot tested in Ohio and Indiana;
  • The new youth record report that disaggregates the outcome measures by race and ethnicity, pilot tested in Washington; and
  • The application program interface (API), which automatically transfers information to the PbS website from local management information systems without manual data entry. Washington has completed development of transfer youth record data to PbS; several states are close to completing transfer of incident reports (Alaska, Texas).

The 2013 State Coordinators Training was a huge success thanks to the dedication and commitment of all of the attendees and the team of PbS coaches and staff who helped to make the training possible. A special thanks goes to PbS coach Lois Jenkins and her planning team including Valerie Boykin, Barbara Chayt, Dave Crowley, Al Lick, Kimbla Newsom, Peggy Steimel, and Gary Westoby.

Evaluations completed by participants showed that the presentation by Frank Picone was well-received and provided straightforward and practical methods to create a positive work culture in facilities. A number of attendees have already taken the initiative to share his message with staff and management. Participants stated they gained insight on ways to reach out to families and followed up with each other after the training to share practices and approaches to involve family members and keep them informed. State Coordinators reported that networking was also one of many benefits of the training, hearing about unique and creative programs in other states such as South Carolina’s “I Know My FIP” badge. Future webinars are currently being planned to support the positive networking and helpful information that was shared and enjoyed by the training participants.

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PbS Coach Lois Jenkins and Frank Picone

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Frank Picone, PbS coach Akin Fadeyi, Mike Dempsey and Christine Blessinger from IN

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Executive Director Kim Godfrey and Velvet McGowan from SC

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Katie Needham (OH) during her presentation, "Data Driving Facilty Change."

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Gary Westoby (OR) presenting "Sharing Data with Multiple Audiences"

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State Coordinators and staff during networking and discussions.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Cuyahoga Hills Horticulture Class


Cuyahoga Hills JCF completed construction of its new greenhouse on September 16, 2012. It is located a short distance from the Horticulture classroom in an area that provides plenty of room for gardens, landscaping materials and storage buildings.

Ms. Janay Davis, Horticulture teacher, divides the quarterly curriculum into modules. Within each module, there are competencies to master, and after completion of the course, students are awarded a certificate that lists the skills that they have acquired. Classroom lessons are reinforced through hand-on work in the greenhouse, land lab and classroom store.

The educational team at Cuyahoga strives to incorporate common core subjects in all classes. For Black History Month, the Horticulture students researched George Washington Carver. They are also writing an Ohio Graduation Achievement Test (OGT) practice essay. Currently, students are studying ornamentals, landscaping design, and how to maintain plants in a retail outlet environment. "Students have discovered that there is a lot more to growing and selling plants than they thought," Ms. Davis states. Students have to rely on their math skills to figure out the volume of soil for each pot, as the soil, pot and seeds determine the sale price of an item.

Students work continuosly, caring for all the house plants around the facility, in the greenhouse, classrooms, hallways, offices and dorms. This quarter students are busy planting seeds and plugs for Cuyahoga's spring bedding plant and hanging basket sale. So far, students have planted approximately 80 hanging flower baskets, including spring combinations, full sun baskets, red, white and blue baskets and planters for patios.

"We are anticipating the summer months. It keeps us very busy in the gardens," Ms. Davis declared. "Our goal this year is to plant 100 tomato plants and enough sweet corn and watermelon to feed the entire facility at a meal."

There are many facets to this class and the curriculum entails more. One thing is for sure: staff and youth can expect more great things to develop from this program.

Job well done!

Monday, March 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Connecticut and Illinois Release Pivotal Juvenile Justice Reports


This week the Justice Policy Institute released a report entitled, “Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Improved Outcomes for Youth,” and the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission released its report entitled, “Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: The future of 17-year-olds in Illinois’ justice system.” Conclusions from both reports support the notion that raising the age is consistent with legal trends, is consistent with adolescent development and behavior; is an efficient use of juvenile court resources; improves public safety; and decreases long-term costs.

Additional information on both these reports can be found on The Campaign for Youth Justice blog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Guide to Risk Assessment Implementation Now Available


The National Youth Screening & Assessment Project has published “Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation.” The guidebook details the purpose and nature of risk assessment, provides definitions of risk assessment concepts, describes some of the research evidence, and provides in-depth guidance on selecting and implementing an evidence-based tool. Customizable documents, including office policy templates, memoranda of agreement, and presentation slides to educate stakeholders about risk assessment are available on CD-ROM for readers’ use.


MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative funded the development of the guidebook. You can learn more about the initiative.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant Applications


The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance is seeking applications for funding for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP). This program seeks to increase public safety and improve access to effective treatment for people with mental illnesses who are involved with the criminal justice system by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health treatment, and substance abuse systems. Each grantee is given the opportunity to tailor its programming to the particular needs of its community. Applications are due on March 25, 2013.

On February 19, 2013 (2:00-3:00 p.m. EST), the Council of State Governments Justice Center will host a webinar to assist grant applicants seeking funding through the JMCHP. In this webinar, BJA representatives will provide an overview of this year’s JMHCP grants, discuss eligibility and application materials, and lead a question-and-answer session. You can register for this free webinar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Family Engagement in Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Programs Webinar


On February 7, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (EST), The Council of State Governments Justice Center, in collaboration with the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, will present Family Engagement in Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Programs: Making It Real. During this webinar, Wendy Luckenbill of Community Care Behavioral Health and Dr. Tracy Levins of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department will describe their efforts to improve family involvement and to develop new resources for both family members and juvenile justice staff. As representatives of the Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network, the presenters will share concrete, practical strategies and best practices that other programs can replicate. The Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network was established by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Register for this free webinar.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM

OJJDP Likely To Appoint Permanent Administrator


Robert Listenbee Jr., a long-time champion of reforms in the juvenile justice system, including limiting the detention and incarceration of juveniles, is likely to be the next permanent administrator of the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, according to a report in the Chronicle of Social Change.

The federal office on juvenile justice has not had a permanent chief since President Barack Obama took office in 2008, the first time in the office’s nearly four-decade history that the seat has lain vacant for so long. Melodee Hanes became acting administrator of the office in January 2012, after Jeff Slowikowski fulfilled that role for the first three years of the Obama administration.

Read this announcement in full at the Juvenile Justice Exchange Website.

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Washington State Program Offers Peer Support for Justice-Involved Families


Developed by the University of Washington, Seattle, Juvenile Justice 101 is a Models for Change program that helps parents and guardians of justice system-involved youth understand the juvenile court process. Facilitated by caregivers of youth who have been through the juvenile justice system, the program includes a court orientation, agency presentations, one-on-one support, and community outreach.

A Guidebook for Implementing Juvenile Justice 101 provides more information about this family engagement program, a 6-month plan for implementing the program in local courts, and training materials for partners.

You can read about other ongoing projects at the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at The University of Washington School of Medicine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 1:14 PM