Five Sites Selected for Juvenile Probation Certificate Program

Updated May 14, 2024 | Posted January 5, 2024
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Participants in the 2022 Transforming Juvenile Probation certificate program at Georgetown

Participants in the 2022 Transforming Juvenile Probation certificate program at Georgetown

In June 2024, teams from five juris­dic­tions will gath­er in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to learn about adopt­ing a safer, youth-cen­tered approach to juve­nile pro­ba­tion as part of the Trans­form­ing Juve­nile Pro­ba­tion Cer­tifi­cate Pro­gram.

Sup­port­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, the pro­gram offers inten­sive instruc­tion, dis­cus­sion and plan­ning sup­port to select­ed juris­dic­tions that are ready to ques­tion the pur­pose and goals of pro­ba­tion. It was devel­oped in part­ner­ship with the Cen­ter for Juve­nile Jus­tice Reform (CJJR) at George­town University’s McCourt School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy and the Coun­cil of State Gov­ern­ments Jus­tice Cen­ter.

The 2024 pro­gram is the third time it has been offered and includes juve­nile jus­tice juris­dic­tions in:

  • Greene Coun­ty, Ohio;
  • The state of Maine;
  • Orange Coun­ty, California;
  • River­side Coun­ty, Cal­i­for­nia; and
  • Wayne Coun­ty (Detroit), Michigan.

This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for juris­dic­tions to ful­ly shift the role of pro­ba­tion away from sur­veil­lance and com­pli­ance and toward pro­mot­ing per­son­al growth, pos­i­tive behav­ior change and long-term suc­cess for youth,” says Stephen Bish­op, asso­ciate direc­tor of pro­ba­tion and sys­tem trans­for­ma­tion in the Foundation’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group.

Each team, capped at eleven mem­bers, has a chief pro­ba­tion offi­cer, judge and pros­e­cu­tor on its roster.

Over the course of the pro­gram, each team will receive tech­ni­cal assis­tance as they devel­op a cap­stone project that iden­ti­fies a clear action for trans­form­ing juve­nile pro­ba­tion in their juris­dic­tion. This may include:

  • devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing new poli­cies and practices;
  • train­ing staff and stake­hold­ers to pro­mote buy-in and col­lab­o­ra­tion; and
  • assess­ing, eval­u­at­ing and sus­tain­ing progress.

Upon approval of a team’s cap­stone project, its mem­bers will earn an exec­u­tive cer­tifi­cate from George­town Uni­ver­si­ty and join CJJR’s net­work of more than 1,900 fel­lows. The uni­ver­si­ty will also pro­vide teams with exten­sive tech­ni­cal assis­tance to sup­port plan­ning and imple­men­ta­tion at home.

The cur­ricu­lum is root­ed in the prin­ci­ples and prac­tices described in Casey’s Trans­form­ing Juve­nile Pro­ba­tion and Trans­form­ing Juve­nile Jus­tice Sys­tems to Improve Pub­lic Safe­ty and Youth Out­comes from the CJJR and Coun­cil of State Gov­ern­ments Jus­tice Cen­ter. It cov­ers top­ics such as:

  • incor­po­rat­ing prac­tices for fair­ness and equity;
  • youth, fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty part­ner­ship and empowerment;
  • diver­sion as an off-ramp from the for­mal jus­tice system;
  • deci­sion mak­ing about the length and inten­si­ty of pro­ba­tion terms;
  • roles of pro­ba­tion offi­cers; and
  • lead­ing trans­for­ma­tion­al change.

What Do Past Par­tic­i­pants Say?

Rosie Med­i­na, a chief pro­ba­tion offi­cer who led a team from El Paso Coun­ty, Texas, not­ed the unequiv­o­cal val­ue” of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2022 cer­tifi­cate pro­gram. Med­i­na cit­ed the tech­ni­cal assis­tance and train­ing as crit­i­cal to the imple­men­ta­tion of strate­gies that will be sus­tain­able and will yield improved pos­i­tive out­comes for youth involved in our sys­tem as we look into the future.”

Hen­ry Gon­za­les, Medina’s coun­ter­part in Har­ris Coun­ty, Texas, appre­ci­at­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn from the expe­ri­ences and insights of oth­ers in the field. Active engage­ment in the pro­gram cre­ates space for con­ver­sa­tion that pro­motes curios­i­ty about doing things dif­fer­ent­ly,” he said.

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