Blog: Washington DC

Registration Now OPEN for Georgetown Conference on At-Risk Children and Youth

Georgetown University, the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI), and the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the inaugural Georgetown Public Policy Institute LEAD Conference (Leadership. Evidence. Analysis. Debate.): Positive Outcomes for At-Risk Children and Youth: Improving Lives Through Practice and System Reform.
The Georgetown Public Policy Institute LEAD Conference is an annual national event that brings together experts and key stakeholders to examine a particular policy challenge and discuss potential solutions. This year’s inaugural event will invite attendees to explore the following issues related to at-risk children and youth:

Criminalizing Poor Youth in Washington, DC [infographic]

This morning, DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY), launched a capital-wide campaign to reach out to kids, families, policymakers, practitioners and systems administrators to relay the errors in spending and judgement when it comes to juvenile justice.
DCLY asks whether it makes sense to spend tens of thousands on matriculating through the justice system, or successfully matriculating through school. They asks if spending should occur to lock kids up, or if investing should occur to employ youths and families. Community investment, responsible spending and responding to youth early on is the answer to making Washington, DC -- and cities nationwide - stronger and safer. 
Check out the full infographic after the jump.

A New Program to Reduce Truancy: Washington DC’s Case Management Partnership Initiative

The DC Crime Policy Institute recently released an interim evaluation on a new truancy intervention program (direct download the PDF here). The program, called the Case Management Partnership Initiative (CMPI), aims to reduce truancy by connecting truant students and their families with applicable services and case management. The assumption is that by helping to alleviate the underlying issues causing truancy, such as family problems, truancy as a whole will go down.
While the program has not yet shown that it reduces truancy, CMPI has ideas on how to improve the program moving forward. Via the report:

The CMPI does not seem to be reducing truancy on a scale that would warrant expanding the program in its present form. The program is promising, but warrants modification, enhancement, and further experimentation. Among many possible modifications that might strengthen the program, this evaluation suggests several for consideration.

  • The program may be starting too late to improve the chances for improved attendance in ninth grade, and may need to start months to a year earlier.
  • The program may want to explore modifications to its eligibility criteria. This may involve additional assessments to identify key drivers of truancy before participation in the program, exploring full attendance histories (rather than prior year only), and/or targeting the program to students with a narrower range of prior truancy. Other student and family characteristics, such as academic need and performance, may also be incorporated into existing criteria.
  • Additional program components may be beneficial. For example, the program’s family focus could be supplemented with a component that focuses intensively on the student’s academic performance. Family mental health needs may also warrant increased attention.

TONIGHT: NBC Profiles Maya Angelou Academy, School Inside Juvenile Correctional Facility

Tonight, on Rock Center with Brian Williams, correspondent Chelsea Clinton goes inside the Maya Angelou Academy, the school located within the District of Columbia's long-term youth correctional facility. Here's a preview clip:

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From the clip's description:

Juvenile Mental Health Court in DC Shows Early Success

In Washington D.C., juveniles charged with certain offenses (including some misdemeanors and non-violent, low-level felonies) and diagnosed with a mental illness, can apply to be diverted to a specialized mental health court.
There, under the guidance of Judge Joan Goldfrank, youths are held accountable for their specific problem behavior—such as school attendance, substance abuse, or avoiding mental health treatment.
Early results are encouraging: out of the 56 enrolled in 2011, only eight were subsequently re-arrested. This rate, 14 percent, is far lower than the average re-arrest rates out of D.C.’s general juvenile courts, which hovers around forty percent.

DC Superior Court Helps Teens with Mental Health Problems

A Superior Court in Washington, D.C., is redirecting minors with mental health problems from the juvenile system to treatment and rehabilitation. JM-4, a former juvenile mental health division court, is led by Magistrate Judge Joan Goldfrank, who is known for listening to families and dispensing wisdom and services to kids.
“The message I want to give them is that they are supported,” Goldfrank told the Washington Post. “The whole point of juvenile justice is rehabilitation. How could we not do it on the kids’ side?”
JM-4 is one of a dozen courts in the country that aims to help young people with mental health issues without incarcerating them.
From the Washington Post: