Monday, November 20, 2017

Incentives have exploded at Giddings State School and the events just keep coming. The PBIS incentive team at Giddings State School have taken incentive programs to new heights and the youth have enjoyed a summer packed with fun. Events included a field day in which students were able to play water games and enjoy healthy snacks, a water kickball game complete with slip-n-slides and inflatable pools, and even the opportunity to ride newly purchased bicycles around campus. Along with these great opportunities, the PBIS incentive team renovated a dorm specifically for incentive use. With a boardwalk theme, bright colors, games, and relaxation stations, youth meeting criteria are able to spend leisure time with friends enjoying their day. In addition, even more is on the way. With a new dorm of the month program, students will be allowed access to themed Lego sets such as the NASA Apollo Saturn V spaceship or the Silent Mary pirate ship to build at their dorm.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

This is a message from Shirley Stephens as she steps down as Team Lead for the G3 Juvenile Prison Ministry at McFadden Ranch. She will continue to mentor and help at special events.

“In 2013 I got a horseshoe and a cross from Connie Redford (retired Community and Family Relations Coordinator for North Texas/Tarrant County/Fort Worth) for volunteering. The end of that year Anne Ashton gave me the keys to the ranch when I took her place over G3 volunteers. Tonight , last Monday, 7/24/2017, the Council gave me roses in a boot to remember the ranch. These are some of my treasures!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TJJD hosted its annual Regional Training Officer (RTO) meeting in partnership with the Correctional Management Institute of Texas August 1-3, 2017, at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. Regional trainers from around the state came together for this collaborative opportunity. (The primary goal of the workgroup meeting was to ensure the current content of the Juvenile Probation Officer Basic and Juvenile Supervision Officer Basic curricula are updated, relevant, applicable and written in a way that can be consistently delivered statewide to officers.) The RTO workgroup also welcomed several new members to the group.

In preparation for this workgroup meeting, TJJD solicited input via its annual training survey for suggested changes to the curricula, and additional training resources that may be needed within the field. In addition to the survey results, other areas of discussion included: accomplishments from FY 2017; review of the JSO pilot exam questions and results; review of the JPO exam process; the development of a study guide for use by JPOs and JSOs; defining ways to enhance existing basic curricula; and the recruitment of new RTOs.

Delisha McLain, curriculum developer for the Juvenile Justice Training Academy (JJTA), will continue to work with the RTOs and a variety of subject matter experts to enhance outdated material and develop new, relevant content. In the near future, JJTA will be finalizing completed curricula on  Trauma Informed Care (revised), Cultural Equity (new), and Gender and Sexuality (new). TJJD will continue to send emails out to all departments when new curriculum is available to be downloaded, however, all departments and facilities are encouraged to ensure they are  using the most updated material as provided on the TJJD training resources website. Thanks to all of the RTOs who participated in this workgroup meeting. Their generous input and commitment made this a valuable experience for everyone who attended.

We look forward to your continued feedback on testing. If you have any questions or would like additional information regarding exams, the RTO meeting, the RTO process or if you would like to become a RTO and potentially serve on this workgroup, please contact Kristy Almager at 512.490.7125 or Kristy.Almager@tjjd.texas.gov or Chris Ellison at
512.490.7245 or Chris.Ellison@tjjd.texas.gov.

Friday, November 10, 2017

It’s hard to believe it has already been a year since PAWS (Pairing Achievement With Service) came to the Gainesville campus. The program, in place since June 2016, has done very well by both human and dog standards. Many dogs have been adopted, with one going on to do therapy work in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. PAWS also recently acquired a service dog in training from Service Dogs Inc. that will soon go to formal training at their Dripping Springs facility and be paired with a client in need.

Youth from the Gainesville facility did an incredible job building the one and only PAWS Dog Park for the program. Youth, along with the help and supervision of welding teachers Denver Foster and Dennis Westerlin, and Carl Motley, Director of Security, constructed, welded, and painted the dog park structure. “It was really a lot of hard work… and hot!” stated one youth who contributed his welding skills to the project.

Members from the Gainesville Student Support Council and Noah’s Ark board members and staff attended the event. Youth and staff gave guests a tour of the dorm, answered many questions, and showed off some of their K9 training skills. All the guests remarked about how impressed they were with the youth, what they have been able to do with their dogs, and the great job they have done building the dog park. Noah’s Ark staff were very impressed with the health and well-being of the dogs in the youth’s care and how much all the dogs have improved in their appearance and behavior since being in the program. Youth in PAWS care for and train their dogs to become more adoptable by training them in the American Kennel Club’s “Canine Good Citizen” (CGC) program. Dogs are housed with the youth in their rooms and are available for adoption once they pass the CGC test.

Guests were treated to lunch a of BBQ pork chops and chicken prepared by Gainesville Manager Ron Stewart and potato salad and baked beans prepared by Food Service Manager Doris Garner. Youth served the guests and enjoyed the delicious meal themselves. Staff and youth did an exceptional job decorating and setting up the luncheon in the gym. PAWS Administrator, Cris Burton, would like to recognize Manager Cathryn Hudspeth, PAWS Dorm Supervisor Varnard Oliver, PAWS Case Manager/JCO V Marsha Deeds, JCO V LaQuita Mitchell, and the rest of the PAWS dorm staff for all of their hard work and patience over the last year to make PAWS a success. Also a heartfelt thanks to the administration and support staff that have worked over the last year to create a great program for youth and dogs at Gainesville.

For a list and description of PAWS dogs available for adoption, visit: http://tjjdpaws.blogspot.com/

PAWS UP!!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On July 22, Giddings State School welcomed the Bill Glass Ministry team with the Behind the Walls event. The ministry event consisted of Behind the Walls team members who won the youth over with their inspiring life stories and extra special props. Speakers included a football player who is currently in the running to be a walk-on for the Green Bay Packers showing amazing strength and a racecar from the film Talladega Nights. Students saw the Talladega Nights racecar perform "burnouts" in front of the gym.

The ministry team shared their stories of overcoming adversity through their own personal stories of
struggle and finding faith. Their personal stories inspired both youth and staff alike and provided a beacon of hope and optimism for the future of our youth.

Monday, November 6, 2017

On July 12, TJJD’s Education Division hosted its 4th Annual Spelling Bee. The winner of the Spelling Bee was student H. P. from MRTC, second place was F. M. from Evins, and third place went to J. T. at Ron Jackson.

Students from across the state competed in on-campus spelling bees and the top three winners from each of TJJD’s six campuses won an opportunity to compete in the District-wide Spelling Bee. The Spelling Bee was conducted out of Central Office via the Polycom system. The pronouncer for the Bee was Lori Thorp, the professional development coordinator. The judges were Kimbla Newsom, Lane Cartwright, and Dr. Marie Welsch. The official scorekeeper was Efrain Resendez.

Congratulations to our Spelling Bee Champion!

Below are some benefits of a spelling bee.

Competitive Spirit
Spelling bees allow individuals to compete in a supportive environment. The brain activity and excitement that goes with a spelling bee is just as stimulating as a physical competition, which means that the whole competition can pump up the adrenaline of the contestants and the audience alike. A friendly rivalry is created and students are encouraged to interact with fellow participants and cultivate friendships.

Greater Knowledge
Learning words can get students interested in tracing the origin of a word and its etymology. This information will greatly enhance the knowledge base of a child, even at a very young age, and motivate them to develop a keen interest in learning new words.

Cognitive Skills
The spelling bee allows students to develop a range of cognitive skills including the ability to handle pressure. The learning process accompanying the spelling bee is likely to enhance students' memory and allow students to develop better learning skills, which can prove to be highly beneficial during higher education.

Confidence
Such competitions can boost a student’s confidence level. A spelling bee helps them gain the confidence they need to speak in public and accept their mistakes, while also getting the applause their hard work deserves.

PHOTO: Reading Specialist Cathy Berryhill presenting the 2017 spelling bee trophy to Carol Jo Mize, Principal at the Mart facility

Thursday, November 2, 2017

High School youth from the Denton Police Youth Summer Program, along with four Denton Police Officers, enjoyed a tour of the Gainesville State School in July. The School Resource Officers hand select students from the assigned campuses. There are middle school, high school, and girls programs that have been operating since 2010.

Officer Keith Adams who coordinates the tours each year states, “I am involved because I want to continue to help make positive changes in kids’ lives. There is no greater feeling than to be in the position to open up a kid’s imagination, keep them out of harm’s way, and steer them in the
right direction.”

While on campus, youth see what a dorm looks like, hear from young residents, tour the security unit, and see campus life. When asked why he chooses to bring youth to the Gainesville State School, Officer Adams replied, “I felt that the facility would provide the kids with the opportunity to see what the inside of a confined facility would feel like. They could see that if they didn’t make good choices in life, confinement could be a possibility. I want them to realize that trouble is easy to get into and hard to get out of. Freedom is priceless.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Staff and students welcomed youth ministry group, Mirror Image, to Giddings State School in July. Those in attendance were blessed to share in their worship and praise and to receive their message of
encouragement.

The One Step Away tour is a traveling choir organized by the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and includes youth in grades 9 through 12. They perform and travel through several states during the summer months spreading their message of faith, hope, and God’s love. This year’s tour brought them through Texas and included stops in San Antonio, Austin, and other TJJD facilities.

Giddings State School youth sang along to "Man in the Mirror" and listened to the powerful message in the lyrics of every song the group performed. Mirror Image members shared with Giddings youth their own personal struggles through testimonials on cardboard signs that, when reversed, showed how God’s love helped them overcome.

The One Step Away tour will continue traveling and performing their way back home and the Giddings staff and youth look forward to welcoming them the next time they’re in Texas!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The National Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Neglected or Delinquent Children and Youth (NDTAC), in conjunction with the American Institute for Research, just released The Mentoring Toolkit 2.0: Resources for Developing Programs for Incarcerated Youth, and it features TJJD’s Mentoring Program. NDTAC serves as a national resource center to provide direct assistance to states, schools, communities, and parents seeking information on the education of children and youth who are considered neglected, delinquent, or at-risk.

Tammy Holland, TJJD’s manager of community, family, and chaplaincy programs, helped launch the Toolkit during a nationwide webinar for juvenile justice officials on August 31, entitled “Designing Effective Mentoring Programs for Neglected, Delinquent, and Incarcerated Youth.” Mentoring can provide the opportunity for at-risk youth and youthful offenders, who often have limited contact with positive adult role models, to form and sustain meaningful relationships.

NDTAC's Mentoring Toolkit 2.0 brings together information, program descriptions, and links to important resources that can assist staff of juvenile justice facilities and organizations to design effective mentoring programs for neglected and delinquent youth, particularly those who are incarcerated. Holland described the TJJD mentoring program design and shared lessons learned over the program’s twenty-year history.

A former TJJD youth, named Elliott, wrapped up the webinar by sharing his personal experience as a mentee. Elliott talked about how mentoring changed the trajectory of his life, leading him to become the first person in his family to go to college. His mentor, Judy Davis from the Gainesville State School, provided support to Elliott by sitting by his side during his presentation. Davis mentored Elliott for 6 months while he was at the Gainesville facility and she continues to stay connected to him. While at Gainesville, Elliott received his high school diploma and was an excellent football player. He has finished his first year of college and continues to succeed in his studies and at work.

The Toolkit concludes: “The TJJD mentoring program is a thriving program with almost 20 years of experience in providing high-quality mentoring services to incarcerated youth who are at high risk across the State of Texas. In FY 2015, 409 youth were served, and the program appears to have found a formula that provides a portfolio of mentoring options in a sustainable way. With positive outcomes related to lower rates of recidivism and higher rates of positive educational outcomes, this program offers a model that can inspire other similar programs across the United States.”

To access the Toolkit, go to https://www.neglected-delinquent.org/resource/mentoring-toolkit-20-
resources-developing-programsincarcerated-youth. For further information on TJJD’s mentoring program, please contact Tammy.Holland@tjjd.texas.gov.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The last newsletter we issued was around the time of Hurricane Harvey. For many, it is has been a long two months. I am particularly impressed with the preparedness of each of the affected counties. TJJD made contact with them and mostly heard, “We’ve got this!” Well done. One of my favorite things about being part of the Texas juvenile justice system is the support each corner of the system provides to the remainder. Harris, Victoria, Galveston and Hardin Counties each evacuated some of their kids. I know many counties offered bed space, transportation help, and other support. I am proud of our system and how we pull together as a team, especially when a critical series of events demands no less.

At TJJD, we sheltered in place. Evins Regional Juvenile Center was well prepared but enjoyed blue skies. Giddings State School received a lot of rain, some of which ended up in the gymnasium due to a damaged roof. Our Houston District Office was closed for just over a week due to the flooding in the surrounding area. I am grateful that was the worst of it. Many in our state faced and are facing much worse.

We are taking the opportunity to review our emergency management plans. I hope each county does the same. We can never be too prepared.

In other news, a new Grants Unit has been established as part of the Probation and Community Services Division. This is part of a larger reorganization of the department with Lou Serrano at the helm. Now both the fiscal and programmatic functions of county grants are part of the grants unit, which streamlines TJJD’s effectiveness for providing grant-related technical assistance. Additionally, the Division is filling two regional county program administrator positions, to support the Regionalization effort. In Fiscal Year 2017, 188 youth were placed through Regionalization. TJJD received 337 diversion applications, 224 of which were approved. At a time when commitments were higher than projected at TJJD, these diversions were particularly helpful.

TJJD and other agencies are gearing up for the 13th Annual Strengthening Youth and Families Conference in Georgetown on October 30 through November 2, 2017. I know many from the field and the agency will attend this conference. I am particularly excited for the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) presentation by our own Rebecca Walters, senior director of youth placement and Michael Umpierre, a senior research fellow at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University. This presentation will highlight the significant work the agency has done and continues to do to implement best practices at our state facilities.

I thank everyone for the work you do every day to continue to move us forward toward our mission. It is a noble mission and we are up to it because of the commitment of each of you.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bill Glass Ministries, “Behind the Walls,” held a Day of Champions on July 15, 2017, at 12 juvenile correction facilities in North Texas, ten county facilities and two state halfway houses – McFadden Ranch and Willoughby House. The evangelism event allowed “platform speakers” and “teammates” to address youth at the facilities with a message of hope and forgiveness.

The platform speakers were especially inspiring and motivational. NASCAR Driver William Blakely and evangelist Sandy Boyd spoke at McFadden Ranch, and USC football star and current NFL free agent Dominic Miller and “I Am Second” representative Karen Green spoke at Willoughby House. The Men’s Biker Bible Study and the Women of Valor from the First General Baptist Church of Irving were the teammates at McFadden Ranch. In addition to their message, they shared a pizza lunch with all of the youth.

Blakely and the Bikers roared into McFadden Ranch early Saturday morning with motors revving and burning rubber, as they put on a mini NASCAR road show for the youth. Blakely performed "donuts" and even let JCO V Roberson sit behind the wheel of his official NASCAR car. Blakely’s National Guard #16 NASCAR racing car was the camera car in the filming of the movie Talladega Nights and it won the Homestead, Florida race in 2005. Blakely shared his story which included him being part of the club scene in Houston, working as a bouncer, managing clubs and dealing methamphetamines to support his habits. He shared that his faith and finding Jesus changed his life for the better.

Sandy Boyd, a Dallas-area evangelist, talked about growing up in a family deeply involved in witchcraft and Satanism before becoming a prostitute in an effort to survive. She described how at her lowest she was attempting suicide, sitting in her car, when she felt a Bible she had never seen before and had no idea how it got there. She opened it to the “Sinners’ Prayer.” She said that Bible and that prayer saved her life. Today she ministers to others as the first lady of a church in Garland, is happily married, and has children.

The men and women from the Irving Baptist Church met one-on-one in small groups with the youth and shared their faith,prayed, and read scripture. The youth were very impressed and have asked that they come back soon.

Dominic Miller and Karen Green were at Willoughby House where they shared their stories. Miller is a 6-foot-3-inch, 290-pound NFL free agent who was a standout defensive lineman for the University of Houston. He proudly wears the NCAA Bowl Championship ring that he won while on the same college football team as Cam Newton. Miller encouraged the Willoughby youth to look at life like a football game: their first half may have been difficult, but the second half could be better if they dream big. He demonstrated having big dreams by doing push-ups with men standing on his back. He also broke a wooden bat. But more important than his physical prowess was his message of growing up with his father in prison and being raised by his religious grandmother to become a star college athlete who is being considered by several NFL teams. He said Jesus is his strength.

Karen Green shared how she overcame a life of prostitution to become a motivational speaker and one of the “I Am Second” campaign representatives. Green’s story includes a prison stint in Huntsville, life on the streets as a prostitute, and the incest, sexual, physical, and substance abuse she experienced. Today she is a role model and motivational speaker, working closely with the Dallas Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department to help women escape prostitution. As the founder and director of The Haven of Love, she shares the practical teaching of God’s Word with others. She is married and has two children and three grandchildren.

It was an exciting, fun and productive day as many of the youth renewed their faith and gained a fresh vision of a hopeful future. Jan Wray, one of the organizers of the event said they look forward to returning in the fall and hope to include Cottrell House in the event.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

TJJD would like to recognize the following employees who have received a tenure award since June 2017. On behalf of the agency, we extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for their dedication and service to the State of Texas.

June 2017

FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Vanessa Williams, Giddings
Darrell Logan, Jr., McLennan
Carmen Urbina, Evins
Maricela Trevino, McLennan
Pete Calvert, Giddings
Keith Williams, Ron Jackson
Jeanette Krenek, Gainesville
Veronica Barrera, Evins
Gregory Winn, McFadden Ranch
Tasharra Norwood, Gainesville
Sharon Russell, Giddings
Luther Taliaferro, Austin - Education
Alfonso Tamez, Jr., Evins

TEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Eric Herring, Austin - Probation & Community Services
Christina Huddleston, Ron Jackson
Larry Shupe, Giddings
Sara Wakefield, Ron Jackson
Sergio Avila, Jr., Evins
Martha Garcia, Evins
Javier Rosales, Evins
Linda McDonald, Ron Jackson
Michael Meyer, Austin - Financial Services
Brandi Cain, Austin - Office of Independent Ombudsman
Fred Meinke, Jr., Austin - Information Technology

FIFTEEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Tiffany Earl, McLennan
Joseph White, Gainesville
Nellie Majors, McLennan
Dennie Cooper, Giddings
Carla Lane, Gainesville
Katherine Brown, Ron Jackson
Isidore McDonald, Ron Jackson
Crystal Drew, Ron Jackson
Mark Halk, Ron Jackson

TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE
April Jameson, Ron Jackson
Marivel Soto, Evins
Coutrina Smith, McFadden Ranch
Juanita Recio, Giddings

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Randy Jarrell, Ron Jackson
Ayodeji Omoniyi, Region 2 West

THIRTY YEARS OF SERVICE
Linda Brown, McLennan

July 2017

FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Yeu Chen Lee, Austin - Information Technology
Leroy Ross, Giddings
Dennis Banks, Gainesville
Akevia Oaties, McLennan
Ruth Ayala, Evins
Carol Mize, McLennan
Tasha Myrick, Giddings
Clinton South, Giddings
Michael Waller, McLennan
Shanwanna Dixon, Gainesville
Christopher Ellison, Austin - Juvenile Justice Training Academy
Yolanda Caldwell, Ft. Worth District Office
David Alvarez, McLennan
Tabreena Dixon, McLennan
Crystela Garza, Evins
Troy Price, Ron Jackson
Diane Eunice, Willoughby House

TEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Lana Seale, Ron Jackson
Charles Mohler, Evins
Rebecca Christian, McLennan
Eduardo Garza, Tamayo House
Josh Bauermeister, Austin - Office of General Counsel
Tracie Emmons, Giddings
Sandra Sykes, McLennan
Larry Pipkin, Giddings

FIFTEEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Ruth Orozco, Evins
Arturo Guevara, Tamayo House
Holly Smith, Austin - Medical Services

TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE
Mary Watson, Giddings
Fredrick Webber, McLennan
Kenneth Fillmore, Giddings
Pete Munoz, McLennan
Curtis Glasper, Evins
Ruben Trevino, Tamayo House

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
William Johnson, McLennan
Ronald Stewart, Gainesville
Ada Cartwright, Giddings

THIRTY YEARS OF SERVICE
Tamara Coy, Austin - State Programs & Facilities
James Burns, Giddings

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Shirley Davis, Giddings

FORTY YEARS OF SERVICE

Charlene Davenport, Giddings

August 2017

FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Florencio Davila, Tamayo HWH
Vanessa Lee, McLennan
Michael E. Baker, OIG Field
San Juanita Gonzalez, Evins
Peggy S. Dirickson, OIG Field
Tebbi E. Bowman, Giddings
Margarita G. Vigil, Ron Jackson

TEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Martha L. Ehlert, Ron Jackson
Roberta E. West, Gainesville
John B. Kinsey, Austin - Juvenile Justice Training Academy
Destini M. Anderson, McLennan
Eleazar R. Garcia, Austin - Internal Audit

FIFTEEN YEARS OF SERVICE
Fred Fondon, McLennan
Kaci S. Singer, Austin - Office of General Counsel
Natalian N. Harlmon, Ron Jackson
Cathy A. Cephus, McLennan

TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE
Roel Salazar, Ayres HWH
Audrey Sternadel, Giddings
Roberto Flores, Evins
George Ramirez, Austin - Human Resources
Regina L. Dancer, McLennan
Alicia N. Edington, Gainesville
Jose Castellanos, Evins
Billy Jackson, Austin - Release Review Panel
Joseph R. Lehmann, Giddings
Jimmy S. Crosson, Ron Jackson
Brenda S. Medack, Giddings
Maria E. Vega, Giddings

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE
Amy A. Miller, Austin - Probation & Community Services

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TJJD will be implementing a series of newcoursesonSeptember1designed to assist staff with additional tools to aid in the successful performance of their jobs. The Juvenile Justice Training Academy (JJTA) will provide the following courses to all new hire staff as well as tenured staff: Understanding Professional Liability; Cultural Equity; Gender and Sexuality; Engaging Families in the Juvenile Justice System; and IT Security Awareness Training. In addition, a new curriculum on Suicide Prevention was developed for tenured staff that will be included in annual training.

Understanding Professional Liability was developed by the JJTA to establish a foundational understanding of TJJD job-related legal liabilities, consequences, and protections. During the course, staff will review some of the most common liabilities that may cause legal issues for staff; look at the criminal, civil, and administrative consequences staff face when they do not follow law and policy; and discuss things staff can do to avoid these legal issues.

Cultural Equity was developed by the JJTA in partnership with the Youth in Custody Practice Model’s subgroup on reducing racial and ethnic disparities. How people individually view culture is molded and shaped by their life experiences, and no two life experiences are the same. Shared backgrounds may draw groups of people together, but different ones often push people apart. This course is designed to define culture, discuss its impact on our communities and agency, and determine ways to cultivate equitable, or fair, treatment in our professional role regardless of our cultural differences.

Gender and Sexuality: A Changing Perspective was developed by the JJTA in partnership with Treatment Services and Youth Placement and Re-Entry. This course is designed to examine sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) related issues in the juvenile justice system, along with defining strategies needed to create safe and nurturing environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth are described.

Bringing It Home: Engaging Families in the Juvenile Justice System was developed by the JJTA in partnership with TJJD’s Family Liaison staff. This course was originally implemented in September 2015 for Case Managers, Parole Officers and Family Liaisons; however, the work with the Youth in Custody Practice Model further supports the agency’s effort in creating a foundation for all staff to be equipped with the knowledge of supporting a youth’s rehabilitation efforts for the entire duration of their stay at TJJD. This course explores the important role of family in achieving optimal outcomes for our youth including the signs of high and low family engagement, the challenges and barriers that families face when their youth is involved with the juvenile justice system, and how the juvenile justice system impacts the family are examined.

IT Security Awareness Training was developed by the JJTA in partnership with Information Technology. This course is designed to provide individuals that use, rely on, or manage TJJD’s information and information technology systems to understand their security responsibilities and bring an awareness to the risks associated with the use of technology while using work-related resources.

Suicide Prevention was developed by the JJTA in partnership with Treatment Services for tenured staff. This course builds off of the components learned from the revised training provided to all staff beginning September 1, 2016, and is designed to examine the five important points to help prevent youth suicide attempts using problem-based learning concepts.

Beginning in September, JJTA will also be offering these courses to Central Office staff. Variations of these courses will be available to community-based programs and facilities upon request.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Supporting Staff Workgroup, a subgroup of the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM)*, conducted an assessment to identify ways that agency leadership may better support the needs of staff. TJJD seeks to recognize staff as the agency’s most valuable resource, establish systems of support for mental and physical wellness, and develop a highly-qualified workforce to ensure employees are fully prepared to meet the challenges of their positions through training, building safe and supportive environments and avenues for responsive communication. This was this first quarterly survey sent to staff.

Some of the outcomes of the survey are noted in the infographic on the following page. The Supporting Staff Workgroup has used information contained in the survey results to strategically plan how TJJD can enhance systems of support for staff and the workgroup anticipates providing staff with a regular update on measures taken as a result of these results.

The first survey focused primarily on job stressors. Future surveys will focus on efforts for staff recognition that would be most meaningful; whether or not pre-service training adequately prepares staff; and how supervision could be enhanced and identifying key characteristics of an ideal supervisor. The workgroup has identified many areas that we will ultimately seek staff input on.

The workgroup appreciates those individuals who responded to survey and hope to achieve an even greater response as the surveys become more routine to allow staff to have additional input. The ultimate goal is for all staff to know that their voice is heard and to improve overall employee satisfaction.

* YICPM is an initiative that began in Spring 2016. TJJD continues to make advances to align the agency’s every day practices to core, research-based principles of best practices in four key areas to include: case planning, transition planning, communitybased services and facility-based services (e.g. education, behavioral health, behavior management, rehabilitative programming). The agency will continue to develop customized action plans to implement desired policy and practice improvements and achieve measurable objectives.

For more information, please contact Kristy Almager at 512.490.7125 or Kristy.Almager@tjjd.texas.gov or Chris Ellison at 512.490.7245 or Chris.Ellison@tjjd.texas.gov.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TJJD recently implemented efforts to assist new hires with receiving additional on-the-job training (OJT) and allowing juvenile correctional officers (JCO) with an opportunity to complete a satisfaction survey. Within 180 days after a JCO is approved for sole supervision, assigned JCO supervisors must observe and coach the employee through the a plethora of training modules to ensure the demonstration of competency, proficiency, and performance. State Programs and Facilities and the Juvenile Justice Training Academy solicited input from each facility on targeted training that was an identified need based on operations. Subsequently each facility has an individualized supplemental OJT plan that will be updated annually.

In addition to the JCO supplemental OJT, the JCO supervisor must provide an opportunity for feedback and input utilizing the New Hire Check-In and Assessment Questionnaire. This was a need determined from the Youth in Custody Practice Model assessments completed by each facility. The questionnaire aims to ensure that an in-depth check-in is done by the supervisor, identifying any potential areas of concern, identifying any potential corrective action and allowing the employee with an additional outlet to provide input and feedback. Results from the survey are provided to the Superintendent.

Individual forms (TRN-012 by facility) may be found on the agency’s Intranet Training Forms.

For more information, please contact Kristy Almager at 512.490.7125 or Kristy.Almager@tjjd.texas.gov or Chris Ellison at 512.490.7245 or Chris.Ellison@tjjd.texas.gov