Engaging Stakeholders in Status Offense System ReformModerator: Vidhya Ananthakrishnan, Project Director, Status Offense Reform Center February 24, 2014 September 20, 2014
The Status Offense Reform Center • Vera’s Status Offense Reform Center (SORC) • Funded and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, as part of the Resource Center Partnership • www.statusoffensereform.org • Mission • To help policymakers and practitioners create effective, community-based responses for keeping youth who commit status offenses out of the juvenile justice system and safely in their homes and communities. • What does SORC provide? • A range of tools, resources, and information to help guide system transformation
Featured Resource: A Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform • Step-by-step guide outlining how to undertake a status offense reform effort • Module 1: Structuring System Change • Module 2: Using Local Information to Guide System Change • Module 3: Planning and Implementing System Change (coming soon - March) • Module 4: Monitoring and Sustaining System Change (coming soon – late Spring)
Featured Resource: A Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform • Step-by-step guide outlining how to undertake a status offense reform effort • Module 1: Structuring System Change • Module 2: Using Local Information to Guide System Change • Module 3: Planning and Implementing System Change (coming soon – early Spring) • Module 4: Monitoring and Sustaining System Change (coming soon – late Spring)
Our Presenters Karen Thomas Judge, Campbell County District Court, Campbell County, KY Annie Salsich Director, Center on Youth Justice, Vera Institute of Justice Dane Bolin Director, Office of Juvenile Justice Services, Calcasieu Parish, LA Jennie Marshall Systems Manager, Spokane County Juvenile Court, Spokane County, WA
Annie SalsichDirectorCenter on Youth Justice • National Context • Why Status Offense Reform • What System Change Looks Like • How to Structure Change in Your • Community September 20, 2014
Why Status Offense Reform • In 2010, juvenile courts across the country processed 137,000 status offense cases. • In 36% of these cases, the most serious allegation was truancy – that’s nearly 50,000 kids taken to court for skipping school. • Despite the noncriminal nature of these behaviors, youth in approximately 10,400 cases spent time in detention. • In 6,100 cases, the court disposition was a longer-term placement in a residential facility .
What System Change Looks Like • A new paradigm has been emerging in many jurisdictions: • Connect struggling families with social services in their communities, instead of turning to courts. • The MacArthur Foundation supported and encouraged this shift in its Models for Change initiative. • Vera has provided technical assistance and research support to more than 30 jurisdictions across the country in this area since 2001.
What System Change Looks Like 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses
What System Change Looks Like Diversion from court 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses
What System Change Looks Like Diversion from court An immediate response 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses
What System Change Looks Like Diversion from court An immediate response 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses A process to triage cases
What System Change Looks Like Diversion from court An immediate response 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses Accessible and effective services A process to triage cases
What System Change Looks Like Diversion from court An immediate response Internal assessment 5 Features of Effective Community-Based Responses to Status Offenses Accessible and effective services A process to triage cases
Structuring System Change Step 1: Identify and Recruit Stakeholders Recruit a champion Leverage an existing group Strive for representative membership Incorporate youth and family voices Step 2: Prepare Stakeholders for System Change Work Invite working group members Define the local system Identify a facilitator Craft a meeting agenda
Structuring System Change What does a representative working group look like?
Structuring System Change Tips for Assembling a Stakeholder Working Group: Recruit respected leaders Recruit passionate managers Recruit a mix of skill-sets Conduct a stakeholder analysis
Audience Poll Which stakeholder group have you struggled to successfully engage in reform? • Schools • Juvenile Court • Probation • Law Enforcement • Family/Youth • Advocate • Community Service Provider
Innovative Practices in the Juvenile Justice System: The Campbell County Status Offense Project Honorable District Judge Karen Thomas
The Impetus for Reform • Lack of cross agency coordination: The courts, behavioral health, schools, and community agencies were not always communicating with each other which often left families feeling isolated. • Little support to families: Families were asked to initiate and engage in services, maintain appointments with multiple agencies, and at times juggle conflicting requirements. • Diversion attempts often unsuccessful: Status cases were often sent to court for “non compliance” which opened up contempt sanctions and left the Family Court feeling frustrated.
Goals of the Project • Offer screening and “warm hand-off” referrals for families seeking information regarding beyond control complaints. • Enhance efforts around case management at the pre-court stage using a multidisciplinary team as a consult. • Exhaust efforts for intervention prior to formal court involvement.
How We Did It • We started talking! • State offered guidance on use of reclaiming futures model • The court offered to coordinate the local effort. • Our efforts started with no additional funds – just staff time from agencies.
Initial Meeting • Family and District Court Judges invited local and state-level stakeholders to the table • Local data was shared regarding status cases as well as the potential impact on other agencies (i.e. child welfare) • Reclaiming Futures model was discussed • Sign-up sheets were circulated and attendees were asked to sign up for one of two teams: • A site review team would meet bi-monthly and review child specific data. • A change agent team would meet quarterly, review aggregate data and discuss opportunities for service enhancement.
Summary of Key Steps • Step One: Provide a screening to youth to direct the family to services before a complaint is filed. (Court Designated Workers (CDWs) currently use the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs – Short Screener) Step Two: If complaint is processed a preliminary inquiry takes place with the CDW and the case is presented to a Site Review Team for consultation where treatment is further engaged if necessary. Step Three: aggregate data, trends, and concerns will be communicated to a Change Agent Team on a quarterly basis for consideration and potential policy changes.
Results • From July 2012 to Dec. 2013, Status offense referrals to Family Court have been reduced by approximately 40%.
Highlights! • Services are getting initiated more timely. • Role confusion has been diminished – though we are still learning. • Resources for parents have been indentified. • More attention is focused on the needs of families that file beyond control of parent with the benefit of a team approach. • Five families have been referred to DCBS as the team found a child welfare case was more appropriate.
SPOKANE COUNTY COMMUNITY TRUANCY BOARDS A Promising Intervention for TruancyJennie Marshall, Spokane County Juvenile Court
Community Truancy Board Process • The WA State BECCA Law(or truancy law) mandates all schools in • Washington State must • file a Truancy Petition • with Juvenile Court • when a child has five • unexcused absences in • a month, or ten in a • school year.
Drop Out Data Dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty, receive public assistance, go to prison, end up on death row, be unhealthy, and get divorced (Bridgeland, 2006). Dropouts “cost” our nation more than $260 billion dollars in lost wages, lost taxes, and lost productivity over their lifetimes. [i] Bridgeland, John M. et al (2006). Silent Epidemic.
Impetus for Systems Improvement • “It is a community priority to address the needs of drop-out, truant, and at-risk youth” • The Spokane Community established our children’s education and graduation from high school as a top priority. • Spokane County Juvenile Court joined in the efforts by partnering with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s WA State Models for Change Initiative,local schools, community service providers, and Washington State University (WSU) to study the award-winning West Valley Community Truancy Board (WVSD CTB) as a promising program for helping Truant students and their families.
West Valley School District Agreed to have WSU Evaluate their Community Truancy Board
Results of the WSU WVSD CTB Evaluation Concluded • Students who attended WVSD had a higher rate overall of graduating or obtaining a GED and correspondingly lower dropout and transfer rates than truant students in comparison districts. • The WVSD CTB is an effective and promising intervention for truancy. • The WVSD CTB is an attractive program for replication and sustainable because start up and sustainability costs can be kept minimal through re-allocation of existing resources.
Community Truancy Board Goals • Developing a system for finding solutions to prevent truancy • Reduce formal court involvement by Truant youth. • Improving school engagement • Reducing drop out rates • Increasing access to outside service providers • Using an interdisciplinary approach to collaborate and coordinate with local community businesses, non profit groups, schools, and Juvenile court staff
Spokane County Truancy Process The first step in the petition process is called a “Stay Petition”. A Stay Petition simply informs the Juvenile Court System the school is having attendance issues with a student, but asks the court to allow the school more time to work with the student and family to correct the attendance problem before the court becomes involved. (CTB interventions happen here)
Community Truancy Board Process • Room set up • Process • Student explanation • Creative problem solving • Signed agreement • Follow up • Formal court • involvement only if necessary
Positive Outcomes Drop Out Rates are Decreasing (Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane Website)
Formal Court Involvement by Truant Youth has decreased by nearly 50% Spokane County Models for Change efforts began during the 2007-2008 school year and ended with the 2011-2012 school year. Truancy Filings for these years were 1,781 and 1,706 respectively. While the numbers of Truancy Petitions filed remained roughly the same, numbers of Truancy Contempt orders for the same years dropped nearly 50% from 202 Contempt orders in 2007-2008 to 108 Contempt Orders in 2011-2012.
Spokane County Juvenile Court developed a Toolkit for Community Truancy Board Replication and a Video about CTBs
Replication Efforts • Community Truancy Board (CTB) numbers in Spokane County have increased from one in 2008 to nine in 2013. • Jefferson County in WA State also developed two CTBs to support their Truant students.
Truancy and drop out rates are not just Spokane orWashington State issues. “There is an established link between truancy and later problems, such as increased poverty, job problems, poorer health and mental health, adult criminality, and incarceration.”
Nation-Wide Replication Efforts The CTB Replication Toolkit has also been shared with 18 other states and ongoing CTB replication efforts continue nationwide. Kansas: “Challenges abound Jennie, but we are determined! … I will be strongly defending the Spokane model August 8th when we go to Topeka (state capitol) to explain exactly why and how we want to proceed with the Spokane model.” West Virginia: …“I view your state’s programming to be some of the best researched, and evidence based solutions to this problem which threatens the future of nation. “…
Lessons Learned • “Start small, be successful, and build from there.” • “Together we can accomplish so much more than we can alone.” • Community Truancy Board development can be accomplished through re-allocation of existing resources and requires no additional funding.
Want to learn more??? To obtain a Toolkit for CTB Replication or to Watch our CTB Video Visit our Website at : http://www.spokanecounty.org/Juvenile Or contact: Bonnie Bush Juvenile Court Administrator Spokane County Juvenile Court 1208 W. Mallon, Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 477-2406 firstname.lastname@example.org
Calcasieu Parish Status Offender Reform Dane Bolin Director, Office of Juvenile Justice Services
Demographics/Structure Population 2012: 192,702 Median Household Income $45,470 Race and Ethnic Categories (2000) Caucasian: (73.6%) African American: (24.0%)Native American: (0.3%)Asian: (0.6%)Other: (1.5%) Juvenile Services: • serves six municipalities and nine law enforcement agencies • works under the supervision of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and serves our Juvenile and Family court through a memorandum of understanding.
Calcasieu Parish Reform • Annie E. Casey Foundation “Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative” • MacArthur Foundation “Models for Change” • Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) – Pilot Site • The Vera Institute, New York, NY observed and documented how the parish currently responds to status offenders. A paper was published on the four elements of Calcasieu’s system that stood out as consistent with national best practice. • Working with The Equity Project - LGBTQ
“The Need for Change” “In Calcasieu Parish, we realized that although we did not have the answers, we knew we had a lot of room for improvement. We decided to change the way we do business!” • Number of juveniles referred to court and/or to detention was not decreasing • Due to the above, we were not providing effective programming for our kids • Overall we were not being efficient enough to provide quality services • (It took a family and average of approximately 50 days to receive the services needed) • We were not always focusing on the “right kids” • Timing in our parish was “ripe” for change
Multi-Agency Resource Center The mission of the MARC is to provide a single entry point and coordinated approach to juvenile services for the youth and families of Calcasieu Parish. The center is a collaborative project of the Calcasieu Parish Children and Youth Planning Board Member agencies. MARC Video: http://youtu.be/59T1CMiBecQ