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Models for Change Forum Focuses on Aftercare for Juveniles

The fifth annual Aftercare Forum training was held December 3rd and 4th at the Days Inn at State College, PA. The forum, which was focused on highlighting the ongoing work of the Models for Change Aftercare Reform Initiative, was attended by sixty-seven people from more than twenty counties and five providers.  All of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have committed to the seventeen bullet points outlined in the Joint Position Statement on Aftercare released in January, 2005.

The material presented followed the five phases of aftercare, which are pre-placement, placement, pre-release transition, release and reintegration, and aftercare supervision.  Autumn Dickman of the Juvenile Law Center, which sponsored the forum, opened the event by providing an overview of the MacArthur Models for Change initiative in Pennsylvania.  In addition to aftercare, Dickman also provided information about the other two focus areas, disproportionate minority contact and mental health services for delinquent youth.

The pre-placement phase was covered by staff from Lehigh County Juvenile Probation including Beth Fritz, Jeff Nonnemacher, Pat Best, and Jon Kuykendall. As a pilot county for both the case management essentials and the youth level of service, they shared experiences in undertaking the significant changes these initiatives require.

Marna Goodman of the Pennsylvania Academic Career Technical Training Alliance (PACTT) covered the placement phase by describing PACTT’s ongoing work to improve academics, career technical training, soft skills and entry level certifications in residential facilities. She also defined the role of probation in each of the five phases of aftercare. Kelly Franklin and Cameron Romer covered the competency resource guide, monitoring placement and home pass standards.

Pre-release transition and the release and reintegration phases were illustrated by Allegheny County education specialists Michele Howard, James Davis, and Andrew Schneider.  Throughout the discussion they described their continuing development of a “best practices model” to provide seamless transition and reintegration from placement back to school. Changes to the recently updated education toolkit were addressed by Kelly Franklin.

An area of interest for many probation departments is graduated responses and incentives. Lisa Varon, and Karen Kern covered the Aftercare phase by explaining the necessary components required to develop an effective system which merges graduated sanctions and incentives. Day one ended with an overview of case management essentials (CME) and the Quality Improvement Project (QIP) by Pat Torbet. Both initiatives are through the National Center for Juvenile Justice. CME is being piloted in four counties and covers probation activities from intake to case closing. QIP is looking to improve the quality of interventions for juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania.

Day two opened with presentations by Ed Robbins and Alan Tezak on family involvement. Robbins related Lycoming County’s efforts to support and strengthen family involvement and Tezak discussed the newly released Family Involvement monograph.

Cameron Romer and Sue Alberti stressed the importance of collaboration between probation and the treatment provider as they took participants through a case from pre-placement to aftercare. Additional information regarding aftercare can be obtained by contacting Dan Rhoads at c-darhoads@state.pa.us, Kelly Franklin at kfranklin@epix.net, or Rick Steele at ricsteele@state.pa.us .

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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.

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