The transformation of our system is about more than structural change. It is also about practice change, teamwork, and collaboration.
We took a big step forward in all of these areas on June 29-30 in Portsmouth with the gathering of more than 300 DJJ staff and partners from throughout the Commonwealth for our first-ever Reentry Summit. To have a sense of the number and energy of the summit attendees please check out this video.
The summit was made possible with a large federal grant for which DJJ was one of only three recipients nationwide, and comes at a time when the agency was recently notified that it has an opportunity for a third round of funding. A range of experts and DJJ staff presented on topics such as the new reentry manual, changing our system with evidence and a focus on outcomes, successfully transitioning youth to community schools, and helping youth develop personal action plans for when they return to their communities. There also was a plenary panel featuring youth from Community Treatment Model units at Beaumont and Bon Air, and another panel featuring two formerly committed youth who talked about their experiences, thanked the DJJ staff members who helped them, and offered suggestions for how to better serve other court-involved youth.