Why is there a need for a Families Work Group?
In order to improve outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system the family voice must be included consistently across the system. Too often we overlook this perspective, whether it is provided by biological parents, foster parents, or guardians, and miss an opportunity to fully support a youth on his/her path to success.
What is the focus of the Families Work Group?
The Families Work Group identified four focus areas that should be addressed in order to empower youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system. These focus areas represent current barriers for families to effectively engage with the system as it exists today.
Meeting Location & Dates
To empower and effectively engage families the families work group seeks to:
- Increase trust, respect and understanding between families and system professionals.
- Help families understand the system and develop processes for engagement.
- Improve coordination between all of the system professionals and community providers that provide services to families.
- Provide access to appropriate services to youth and families.
To Work Towards
As we work towards these goals we:
- Recognize that poverty and structural inequity are at the heart of issues facing many families. Our work group cannot solve these issues, but we also cannot ignore them.
- Are committed to involving families in our discussions; our work group includes members that have direct experience with the system and our work group members are encouraged to have discussions with families.
- Have identified some initial strategies that may address the challenges presented by our focus areas, which include creating a Youth and Family Bill of Rights, developing an orientation process, offering and expanding family support groups, and re-imagining the family team meeting. We continue to assess several ideas as we prioritize our plan.
Families Work Group Members
* Working group co-chair
Judith Gutierrez *
Margaret Vacek *