Success Stories


Dane County Detention Center Showcases Youth Talent

The Dane County Juvenile Detention Center has made some great additions to their facility; and they’ve done it in the best way possible – by including the youth!  This fun, YouTube clip shows how they did it.

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Jefferson County Moving Forward with Dual Status Youth Project

Currently, 76% of the youth being served in the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice system have been identified as “Dual Status Youth,” meaning that they currently have, or have had in the past, some type of child welfare involvement in their lives.   In August 2016, Jefferson County was chosen as one of six sites in the nation to receive a technical assistance grant to improve policies and practices around our work with Dual Status Youth. In November, staff members from the JJ and CPS Intake Unit, ongoing Child Protection Unit and ongoing Juvenile Justice Unit joined with our Assistant District Attorney, Juvenile Judge and representatives of the Department of Youth and Family Services to attend a comprehensive training put on by the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation to learn about the unique needs of these kids, as well as how we can take a critical look at our programming and identify ways to improve our practice surrounding our Dual Status kids.

In March 2017, representatives from each of the units who attended the original training met with the Director of the Office of Youth Services to take a closer look at our processes and practices right here in Jefferson County and what we can do to move our programming forward. The meeting was incredibly successful, and the energy around the process to create new programming is dynamic. Sub-committees are currently being formed to start this challenging yet exciting work. There will be more to come shortly on what our sub-committees have accomplished and what that means for our dually identified youth and families moving forward.

Kids at Hope – Manitowoc County

Manitowoc County has been working with Rick Miller from Kids at Hope on an innovative concept which states and demonstrates that all children are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS!  The Kid’s at Hope vision is that every child is afforded the belief, guidance and encouragement that creates a sense of hope and optimism, supported by a course of action needed to experience success at life’s four major destinations: Home & Family, Education & Career, Community & Service, and Hobbies & Recreation.  Hope is the capacity to visit your future (four domains – home and family; education and career; community and service; hobbies and recreation), return to the present and prepare for the journey.

The launch of the effort in Manitowoc was highlighted in 2016 – and the latest information and key principles for Kids at Hope is available to check out.

For more information contact Stacy Ledvina in Manitowoc County.

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A Case Management System for Change – Rock County FFCM

In 2013, Rock County continued its journey for Evidence Based Practice and worked to find a case management system that brought forth the counties mission to empower families and youth by building upon strengths through services and relationships that center on the family.  That program is Functional Family Case Management (FFCM).  Functional Case Management brings a case management process to life that looks to engage the whole family, building their hope while decreasing blame and negativity.  The caseworker develops an alliance with the child’s entire family where individual differences within and between families are respected, as the caseworker strives to engage each family member in the change process.  At its essence, the model is intended to make families the unit of intervention–not just the youth.

Use of the model began in June of 2013 when staff were initially trained in the use of the FFCM model.  The model provides specific processes, skills, goals and objectives in each of the three phases: Engage and Motivate, Support and Monitor and Generalization.  Its core approach is building and keeping a balanced alliance with as many family members as possible and emphasizing positive capacities for change by home visits and interactions that focus on the entire family dynamic rather than singling out and blaming a “youth as the problem family member”.  Workers learn to work relentlessly with families to understand and respect youth and families by understanding and seeing problems relationally while striving to uncover strengths and solutions.  It is through these relationships that families take a more active part in the process and see that change is possible!

For more information, contact Jeremy Brown, Rock Co. JJ Supervisor & you can link to a previous presentation about FFCM in Rock County.

Jefferson County Celebrates Juvenile Justice Awareness Week

President Obama proclaimed October 2016 to be National Youth Justice Awareness Month. This month-long observance is dedicated to preventing youth from entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems and encourages communities to participate in activities and programs that help youth fulfill their greatest potential.  In his proclamation, the President said Congress must reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) “to increase protections for youth and limit the number of minors held in adult jails and prisons.”

In an effort to highlight the incredible strengths of our own at-risk youth and educate the community at large, the Juvenile Justice (JJ) team at Jefferson County Human Services provided several opportunities during the month of October for increasing awareness of this population.  Check out the summary of activities.

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Eau Claire Restorative Community Circles

Accountability for youth is not about following rules – it is about having youth understand the impact of their behavior on others and take steps to repair harm that is done to others and build or re-build relationships that have been damaged by their behavior(s).  It is the “and MORE” that takes the response beyond the traditional justice system, and Eau Claire’s recent experiences with Community Circles shows how that process can impact both the youth and those harmed by the behaviors.  Read Community Sentencing Circle: Picking up Where Traditional Responses Leave Off.

by Cindy Waller

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La Crosse County Builds Strong Partnership to Reduce Arrests and Disparities

La Crosse County has partnered with other Juvenile Justice stakeholders in a three year effort toward system reform, aimed at reducing juvenile arrests and disproportionate minority contact.  The efforts came together in a Memorandum of Understanding on August 9, 2016, in which local Police Department, Courts, School District, and Human Services agreed on alternatives to arrest, to include a System of Care approach to youth misbehavior. (more…)

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Jefferson County Creatively Engages Youth over the Summer

Something we have learned about helping kids involved in the juvenile justice system is that improving opportunities for prosocial leisure and recreational activities builds skills in various areas of their lives and improves outcomes. Unfortunately, many of these kids don’t get a lot of opportunities to participate in fun, healthy activities due to family finances, lack of transportation, parent’s work schedules, AODA issues, etc.  Over the summer, the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice team provided a number of fun activities to help our kids find wellness through positive interactions with peers and appropriate adults.  After asking for and receiving a number of donations by very generous county employees, the Community Response Panel and area businesses the team was able to offer some awesome opportunities for some Jefferson County kids with a lot of risk factors.  Transportation was provided by JJ Team staff, and fees, lunch, snacks and supplies were provided by donations. (more…)

Choosing Change in Eau Claire: One Teen’s Decision to Take Back Her Life

The restaurant is alive with activity; it is a frigid February afternoon and patrons huddle inside the busy restaurant to escape the cold. The comfort of food, family, and friends brings warmth to the chilled souls gathered within. The murmur of conversation and the occasional outburst of joyous laughter can be heard throughout the establishment. One table in particular, however, seats a large group with a special reason for coming together.

“Oh my gosh! Being with you guys again makes me so happy! I can’t even believe I’m here! I’m just so happy!” gushes a seventeen year old named Haeley, tears of joy streaming down her face. Having traveled over three hours to meet, Haeley is overwhelmed by the positive emotions she feels as she reunites with staff members from the 180 Program; her surrogate family during a very difficult time in her life. (more…)

Rock County Working Collaboratively to Reduce Harm from Human Trafficking

The Rock County Coalition against Juvenile Sex Trafficking (RCCAJST) is a partnership that was initiated in February 2016 by the Rock County Human Services Department.  Rock County Human Services and local law enforcement jurisdictions developed a coordinated system for youth who are victims or at-risk of being victims of sex trafficking.  The group’s mission is to identify, serve and protect victims of juvenile sex trafficking. The RCCAJST understands the relationship between chronic runaways, repeated sexual abuse, and juvenile sex trafficking and are working to respond to the problem locally. The stakeholders recognize the importance of alliance building in order to address the issue of juvenile sex trafficking and that working collectively will best serve Rock County youth. (more…)