Greene County ESC News Article

Local Cohort Chosen for National Program

Local Cohort Chosen for National Program

Local Cohort Chosen for National Program
XENIA — In a nationwide competition, a cohort led by Greene County Juvenile Court’s Judge Amy Lewis was one of five jurisdictions selected to participate in the Transforming Juvenile Probation Certificate Program, developed by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The program is designed to guide and support teams from state and local jurisdictions to fundamentally transform their system-wide approach to probation. Selected through a rigorous and competitive application process — which included a written application, project proposal, and a formal interview — Greene County stood out among nationwide applicants.

The team is comprised of court staff, third-party mental health providers from the Greene County Educational Service Center and the Mental Health and Recovery Board, representatives of the Greene County Public Defender and Greene County Prosecutor’s offices, and a family representative. During the second week of June, the team converged at Georgetown University for an intensive week-long seminar. Members received instruction from researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to develop and implement a capstone project to advance system-wide reform that will improve youth outcomes, employ resources more efficiently, and promote equity at the local level.

As part of the two-year project, the team will seek out new community partnerships that increase positive opportunities for youth, including vocational assistance and training, mental health services, mentorships, and other vital resources to help guide youth in a positive, pro-social direction. One goal will be to provide other community partners, such as law enforcement and schools, with additional resources to assist families without involving them in the juvenile justice system.

Additionally, probation staff will begin moving from a “control” probation model to one that features “coaching” that supports, strengthens and empowers youth.

“This project will assist our probation department with discovering ways to formulate case plans that include collaborating with youth and their families so that best practices are aligned with adolescent brain development and effective responses can be crafted to delinquent behavior,” Lewis said. “Individualized case plans are our goal. Probation staff will be able to work intensively with youth and their families to build rapport, provide meaningful individualized approaches and discover resources in the community to wrap around families that will remain in place even after court services are terminated.”

Research by The Annie E. Casey Foundation supports transforming juvenile probation into a focused intervention that promotes personal growth, positive behavior changes and long-term success for youth who pose significant risks for serious offending.

“Probation transformation is congruent with the court’s continuing mission to uphold justice, promote rehabilitation, ensure community safety and empower youth to achieve their full potential,” said Josh Hazelrigg, director of probation at the Greene County Juvenile Court.

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