Casey Fellow in Focus: Finding New Ways to Help Youth in Trouble

Posted October 30, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog caseyfellowinfocusfindingnew 2017

Six­teen diverse, vision­ary lead­ers recent­ly grad­u­at­ed from the Casey Foundation’s Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship®. Their expe­ri­ences demon­strate what Fel­lows can accom­plish when they apply the tools and com­pe­ten­cies of Results Count™ — the Foundation’s results-based lead­er­ship approach — to achieve mea­sur­able results in child well-being.

Meet one of the grad­u­ates: Felipe Fran­co, a juve­nile jus­tice leader in New York City ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing more youth thrive.

As the deputy com­mis­sion­er for the Divi­sion of Youth and Fam­i­ly Jus­tice in New York City’s Admin­is­tra­tion for Children’s Ser­vices, Fran­co want­ed bet­ter options. He want­ed to know how to help young peo­ple stay safe and on the right path in their neigh­bor­hoods — and out of his department’s deten­tion system.

Dur­ing his Casey Fam­i­ly and Chil­dren Fel­low­ship, Fran­co kicked off his search for new solu­tions by embrac­ing one of the the­o­ries of Results Count — the idea that mea­sur­able pop­u­la­tion-lev­el change is more like­ly to occur when the right lead­ers align their actions.

I’m build­ing rela­tion­ships with the police depart­ment, prosecutor’s office, juve­nile pro­ba­tion, the schools and the city’s youth and com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment depart­ment so we can turn the curve for youth in trou­ble,” recalls Fran­co. My agency alone can’t do it, but a mul­ti-agency response can do more for young peo­ple — pos­i­tive role mod­els, pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships, appro­pri­ate treat­ment and sup­port —in a tar­get­ed, results-focused way.”

By the end of Franco’s fel­low­ship — and with the right lead­ers engaged — the search for bet­ter options had evolved into action, and the num­ber of young peo­ple in juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ties had fall­en 15% in just one year.

To achieve this result, Fran­co and his part­ners took a hard look at data, iden­ti­fy­ing risk fac­tors that led young peo­ple to get into trou­ble with the law, such as unstruc­tured leisure time and neg­a­tive peer influ­ences. The group also cre­at­ed heat maps that pin­point­ed the neigh­bor­hoods where many kids in the child wel­fare and juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems lived or returned to after an out-of-home place­ment. With this infor­ma­tion in hand, the lead­ers focused their invest­ments on the city’s most vul­ner­a­ble areas.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion remains a cen­tral com­po­nent of Franco’s work. For exam­ple: He’s part­ner­ing with the city’s youth devel­op­ment agency to offer more city-spon­sored, pos­i­tive activ­i­ties that fill young people’s idle time. He’s also work­ing with the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to give youth who have been detained or incar­cer­at­ed in a juve­nile facil­i­ty a smoother tran­si­tion into neigh­bor­hood schools.

Meet the rest of the class: Includ­ing Fran­co, 16 lead­ers took part in Class 10 of the Fel­low­ship. Learn about all of them.

Like the Fel­lows who have pre­ced­ed them, these 16 women and men are dynam­ic lead­ers who share a mis­sion and a pas­sion to make things bet­ter for young peo­ple using a results frame­work,” says Bar­bara Squires, the Foundation’s direc­tor of Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment. It’s sat­is­fy­ing to help them set their sights even high­er and real­ize their vision for the chil­dren and fam­i­lies they serve.”

The Foun­da­tion will begin select­ing the next Fel­low­ship class in August 2018.

Learn more about the lead­er­ship lessons of the Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fellowship

Watch videos about lead­ing for results

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