YDTF: Meeting Minutes July 24th, 2017


AARP State Office - Chicago

222 N LaSalle STE 710, Chicago, IL 60602


In-Person Attendees: Jen McGowan, Tony Smith, Brian Van Vickle, Andrea Durbin, Camesha Jones, Ellen Kennedy, Sen. Donne Trotter, Officer Kate Sanchez, Brandy Brixy, Rep. Patti Bellock, Rob Vickery, Judge Ben Roe, Wendy Nussbaum, Rebecca Levin, Amber Kirchhoff, Rachel Reichlin, Rob Vickery, Elizabeth Vasquez, Sharon Coleman, Candy Malina, Brian Conant, Bill Pieroth, and Daisy Delgado

Welcome, Purpose, and Introductions

Jen McGowan opened the meeting and explained the agenda of the meeting, which included short introductions of everyone present, approve meeting minutes from May 8 and June 12, and a panel discussion on Illinois youth diversion programs.

Approving Minutes from May and June Meetings and Charge

  • May 8: Motion to approve provided by Becky Levin, second by Sharon Coleman. Unanimously approved.
  • June 12: Motion to approve provided by Brian Conant, second by Andrea Durbin . Unanimously approved.
  • Charter: Motion to approve provided by Bill Pieroth, second by Brian Conant. Unanimously approved.

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Andrea Durbin

Panelists: Wendy Nussbaum - IL Juvenile Justice Commission (representing CCBYS), Judge Ben Roe - 15th Judicial Circuit (Ogle County), Latonia Byrd-Williamson - DJJ Aftercare Division, Camesha Jones - BUILD, Inc., Ellen Kennedy - Richard's Career Academy (see bios at the end of the minutes).

Purpose of the panel:
  • Objective for panel is to learn more about diversion programs already functioning in Illinois.
  • Focusing on strengths (areas to build) and challenges (potential gaps to address).
  • Start thinking about areas of commonality and priority for moving into the action planning process.
Wendy Nussbaum - CCBYS (Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services) - Intercept 1

CCBYS focuses on locked-out youth, or those who have been kicked out of their home by parents. The program reaches youth at the police station to screen and refer youth for services by using the YASI. Group counselling and trauma informed care are used heavily, for example. All referrals and decisions for youth are made on a case-by-case basis. An individual can expect to stay in the program about 4 months. CCBYS provides wrap-around services ranging from the living arrangement to employment.

There are a few gaps in the services, or at least ways the program could be improved. For instance, first-time offenders are currently handled the same as a habitual offender, which should not be the case. First-time offenders should be handled differently. Also, currently mental health diagnoses are required to receive mental health services in the program, which should not be the case.

Employment history, living arrangements, legal history, and more are tracked throughout the program, and a year after exiting the program as a way to measure effectiveness.

Camesha Jones - BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development)- Intercept 1

The organization is 50 Years old and focuses on gang-involved youth. BUILD Uses two main strategies to engage the community - gang and street intervention. Former gang members who were justice involved perform these interventions for individual youths who are interested in getting help. They serve as mentors and an information resource. Mentors can refer youth to mental health services that are performed in-house, and other services they need. Camesha works with at-risk girls as a case manager.

Youth travel through the program in a relatively linear track from intervention to prevention. The YASI is used to determine what services they may need, with a focus on past trauma. Workers take an active role by going out into the community to engage youth. The programs are voluntary, but can also be court-ordered. To be referred to a case worker, individuals can simply call the BUILD office and fill out a form to identify areas of need.

Participant Outcome Assessments are filled out tri-annually by the participant and a staff member to track the individual's progress.

Judge Ben Roe - Ogle County Juvenile Justice Council - Intercept 1-2

Juvenile Court interventions. Youth are diverted from traditional court setting - 75% of involved population - to services. Assessments and court check-ins with services. Partners with Focus House - a unique temporary housing/service center run by the County Probation Department. Services range from mental health and substance abuse services, as well as temporary housing. Time and Resources are spent on training for staff and attorneys to recognize mental health and substance abuse/trauma issues.

Plan for the future of Focus House is to expand it for use by residents of other counties. The most pressing for expanding these types of programs is funding. A challenge for expanding the program to other localities is the buy-in and connections between law enforcement - courts - the community - mental health and substance abuse services.

There are 9 month and 1 year assessments of each youth to collect data and ensure they are progressing in the program effectively.

Ellen Kennedy - Tilden Career Academy and Richard's Career Academy - Intercepts 4-5

Kennedy oversees in-school programs she helped run at Tilden Career Academy (she has only just started as the principal of Richard's Career Academy). Many students at Tilden are in the process of re-entering the community from DJJ. Due to the large population of

justice-involved students, the school's administration introduced training for the staff and implementation of numerous restorative practices. The School's teachers have all been trained on trauma informed care. Restorative practices are central to the school, which include a peace room that is staffed nearly full time, conflict mediation, behavioral health services, and referrals to community partners. In addition, staff meet regularly to coordinate care and needs of students, which informs all staff of certain issues students are facing.

The school also has a large population of students in special education - a number of those students have been pushed into these programs. 35% of students at Tilden have IEPs. These students get priority with case/social workers, which doesn't leave much time for other students.

The program starts with an understanding that if the behavioral and socioemotional needs of our students aren't met, academic gains will never be achieved.

Measuring success is difficult in the school since data is only collected on a district-wide basis.

Latonia Byrd-Williamson - Cook County Probation Aftercare - Intercept 5

The probation Aftercare program assists youths with re-entry into their community, with a purpose of reducing recidivism. A key aspect of the program is graduated sanctions, which are reactive to actions, to help them stay on track without being returned to DJJ for one misstep. Youth are screened for trauma, mental health issues, substance issues for referrals. There is also a Day Reporting program, which can be court-ordered. Highest risk youth attend full day structured programming to keep them on track and to lower the chance of them returning to DJJ.

Despite a lack of data, Latonia has seen most of the youths need mental health services, and many, but not all, are diagnosed in DJJ facilities. To provide mental health services, Aftercare has contracted with Thresholds.

This program is relatively new and has yet to be evaluated.

Next Meeting:

Will update regarding August 7, 2017 meeting. Next in-person meeting will be August 28 from 10 am to 1 pm.

Topic: National Diversion Model Programs / Action Teams

Panelist Biographies:

Latonia Byrd-Williamson has a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology. Latonia is a Placement Supervisor with the Department of Juvenile Justice's Aftercare Division. Latonia has 20 years experience working with youth and families that have experienced trauma. She has worked extensively with youth within the Department of Children and Family Services as a placement caseworker. In addition, she has wide-ranging experience working with youth involved with the criminal justice system, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, and residential settings. Currently, she does emergency placements for the Department of Juvenile

Justice youth for the entire state. Additionally, she oversees youth who are in DJJ placements for the city of Chicago and Northern Illinois Region.

Camesha Jones is a radical Social Worker and mental health advocate that works at the individual and community level to advocate for equitable resources, healing, and justice for marginalized communities. She's worked in the social work field for 6 years focusing on clinical and systems change in mental health and interpersonal violence prevention in African- American communities with youth and adults. She's worked and received training at: the National Council of Negro Women, Children's Defense Fund, Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program, BUILD Inc., UCAN, Presence Health, and the University of Chicago- School of Social Service Administration. Camesha graduated with an A.M. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Spelman College with a B.A. in Sociology.

Ellen Kennedy has been engrained in Chicago's education community since 2000. Her early roots were planted when she began work as a school social worker in a therapeutic day school in Chicago. After fulfilling both direct service and administrative roles in therapeutic day for four years, Kennedy transitioned to a tenure in the charter school arena where her work involved new school start-up, community relations, and fulfilling Associate Director duties in a high school. In 2012, Kennedy joined one of the turnaround schools, Tilden Career Academy, as its Assistant Principal. For five years at Tilden, she and the Principal built academic and behavioral health systems and structures to support some of the district's most vulnerable populations. In May 2017 Kennedy was named as the Interim Principal at Richards Career Academy. Kennedy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a certified trainer for Well Managed Schools. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Dayton, a Master's Degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education.

Wendy Nussbaum is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), with a specialty in family counseling. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Council last October, she served as the Executive Director of Northeast DuPage Family and Youth Services for twenty years. NEDFYS is a community-based counseling agency and CCBYS provider located within the Addison, IL Police Department.

John Benjamin "Ben" Roe, IV is a resident judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court, serving Ogle County, Illinois. Roe has previously worked as an assistant state's attorney in Carroll County, as well as serving as the Ogle County state's attorney. In 2012, he was appointed to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court. Roe received his undergraduate degree in Government from Centre College and his J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law.