Identify youth who will benefit from the tailored care of the special needs unit
McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University named as "fellows," Chris Eldridge from the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, and Brad Marietti and Patti McGowan from the County's Department of Probation for their plan to benefit special needs incarcerated youth. The project is part of their Youth in Custody Certificate Program at the University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR).
“Working together, we can achieve impressive results,” said Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Mike Shores. “This project is poised to dramatically affect the lives of youths and reduce relapses into negative behavior and decrease time spent in custody.”
Georgetown University’s Youth in Custody Certificate Program teaches community leaders how to develop and implement positive change for youth in the juvenile justice system. Before the participants finish the program, they must create a Capstone Project which is a plan detailing exactly how they will carry out these tasks to improve the lives of juveniles.
Eldridge, Marietti, and McGowan’s Capstone Project focuses on bettering the conditions and environment of “incarcerated youth who have been identified as having severe mental health issues, learning disabilities and/or developmental delays.” Their plan addresses issues targeting special needs housing, services, and suitable treatment while it aims to consistently and accurately identify youth who might benefit from the tailored care of the special needs unit.
“We approached our project with the goals of creating a safe, therapeutic learning environment for these youth to grow and better understand themselves. Correct identification, treatment, and therapy will make them more productive members of society when they are released,” said Supervising Probation Officer, Brad Marietti.
Upon approval of the Capstone Project, participants are inducted into the CJJR Fellows Network – a network of program alumni who mutually mentor and support the development of future leaders’ projects. The Sacramento Team was inducted into the Network in August and has implemented the program on a small scale for the past year by identifying and separately housing special needs youth. Though the program is still in its infancy, the plan is to expand services, provide additional early screening for special needs youth, and increase communication with the staff on the housing unit. The hope is to do this at no additional cost through current funding or through partnerships with Sac State or UC Davis, who would provide interns.
Uma Zykofsky, Deputy Director of Behavior Health Services at the DHHS said, “The progress made in our project is significant and we’re thrilled that we have the Fellows Network as a source of education and encouragement. The Sacramento Team’s Capstone Project is poised to benefit the detained youth as well as the community they return to with the hopes and dreams of adolescents and young adults starting their contribution to society.”