Resources for Engaging Families, Including New PA Juvenile Probation Officer Curriculum
Increasingly, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems are adopting family engagement approaches long used by Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities systems. This is good news for families and their children because a partnership approach improves relationships among systems and families, as well as outcomes for the children involved. Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in developing and implementing family engagement models in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare systems. Family Group Decision Making is becoming the favored approach for both. (See here for more information.)
This spring, the Shippensburg University Center for Juvenile Justice and Research launched a “Train the Trainers” process that will produce teams of family advocates and juvenile justice practitioners to do training on the PA Family Involvement Curriculum for Juvenile Probation Officers. This curriculum was written by family advocate Wendy Luckenbill, juvenile justice practitioner Susan Blackburn, and curriculum developer Mary Hunninen. In 2011, the staff of three local juvenile probation offices—one rural, one suburban, and one urban—piloted the curriculum. Preliminary outcomes of pre and post participant assessments indicate a significant attitude shift within the 1.5-day training. Examples of pilot county assessment data include:
#5. Families will act in the best interest of their child when they have the knowledge, skills, and supports they need.
Attitude Shift- Very Much, 39% to 96%
# 7. The benefits of family involvement in the court process outweigh the drawbacks.
Attitude Shift- Very Much, 40% to 89%
The following information is helpful for staff and families, who will benefit from understanding how to foster positive relationships:
- Family Engagement, Child Welfare Information Gateway — View online. Download as a PDF. Order free.
- Family Engagement: A Web-based Toolkit — View View Online.
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