The K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative (K-State JJC) has been awarded $521,805 by the Kansas Department of Corrections and the Kansas Advisory Group to work with local communities in developing support systems for youth and families. The goal is to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system, and to provide alternative services that maximize their chances of leading productive, successful lives. Access to services is especially critical in non-urban areas.
This is a two-year project, which works with community stakeholders to facilitate development of a strategic community plan to:
- Increase the community’s capacity to collect data from juvenile justice decision points. Assist the community with collecting data from the past three fiscal years.
- Increase the community’s data analysis and interpretation capacity. Assist the community complete a thorough data analysis of data juvenile justice data from the past three fiscal years. Through this data analysis, identify areas where outcomes for area youth could be improved via juvenile justice system improvement or other system interventions.
- Increase the community’s collaborative capacity. Assist the community to identify and approach other stakeholders that need to be brought in, to address identified system improvement needs.
Once the strategic plan is created, trained facilitators will guide the community through action items connected to plan implementation. Throughout the planning and implementation process, the team will inform, educate, and train stakeholders about best practices and methodologies including:
- The reduction of Disproportional Minority Contact (DMC)
- Diversity and special populations
- The Developmental Approach
- Health, mental health and trauma
- Delinquency prevention
- Community-based alternatives
- Other best practice needs that may arise over the course of the facilitation
Selected facilitators will work closely with local police, schools, corrections staff, court staff, and other community stakeholders. Facilitators will be knowledgeable on the principles of juvenile justice reform and best practices regarding system involved juveniles.
At the end of the two-year facilitation, K-State JJC will provide KAG and KDOC a toolkit to make available to other Kansas communities, including lessons learned during this project.
In addition to the multidisciplinary principals on the project (Williams, Paul, Johannes, and Chladny), K-State JJC connects a host of additional experts to enhance the team approach.
- Michael Walker, Director of Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University, brings strength to data management and analysis, as well as two additional Docking analysts, Dr. Jian Sun and Luis Montelongo.
- Dr. April Terry, a Docking policy fellow, provides field experience in trauma informed care and other adolescent-related issues.
- New Boston Creative Group brings award-winning technological and design talent in website development, essential for scalability and sustainability of the project.
- Lillian Brownlee, student and protege of Dr. Michael Wesch, world renown digital ethnographer, is the project videographer.
- Three talented graduate students, Mari-Esther Edwards, Lora Kirmer, and Mackenzie Cox bring boots-on-the-ground prowess and energy to the team.
A combination of conceptual models provides theoretical substance and direction to the multi-dimensional project. The organizational chart (below) demonstrates the strength of collaborative connections among various entities of the community engagement project. While the chart cannot visually display every line of interaction, the K-State JJC is intimately involved at every level of organization. Following the chart is a selection of guiding concepts, including a brief description of design thinking.
Levels and methods of facilitation
- The Whole-team Approach
- A style of project management in which everyone on the project team is equally responsible for the quality and success of the project.
- The Listening Tour
- A time set aside to gather information and input, to collect insights, ideas, and context from others before making decisions.
- Master Facilitator Curriculum
- A seven-chapter set of guidelines and activities, developed to “train the trainers.”
- Study Circles
- The process of facilitating a group of 10-12 individuals who meet regularly over a period of weeks or months to address youth initiatives in a democratic, collaborative way. At the county level, participants examine issues from many points of view and identify areas of common good.
- The Learning Journey
Design thinking is an iterative process revolving around a deep interest in understanding the people and communities with whom we partner. Though design thinking does not always follow a sequential process, the project provides existing theories and evidence- based research to the table as a starting point. Phases are open to adjustment; they often occur in parallel and/or repeat. Design thinking acknowledges insight from local communities while offering case studies based on evidence-based practices, specifically exploring insight into non-urban places.
- Explore & Empathize
- The Listening Tour specifically addresses voices of potential decision-makers and participants.
- Identify & Define
- Local, trained study circles facilitators guide participants through difficult questions and potential realizations.
- Ideas often evolve from personal experience to “How does the issue affect others?” In turn, plans for action emerge.
- Develop Prototypes
- Prototypes develop locally.
- Test & Compare
Though program evaluation is beyond the scope of this project, we develop research tools that work at the local level.