The Vera Institute of Justice recently blogged praising Major Gains for Family Engagement in Indiana’s Juvenile Justice System. Specifically, the Indiana Department of Correction, Division of Youth Services (DYS) has been a pilot site for the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbS), and collecting data about family engagement through an ongoing survey of family members.
According to the post, as a result of the PbS surveys, DYS increased their visitation hours and decreased restrictions on the number of visits. The result was that the rate of visitation doubled and the behavior of the children improved. There is increased staff interaction with families to discuss progress and behavior issues, with the hope of better engagement in treatment and reentry plans.
A family council, called Parent Information and Education Session (PIES), was created to improve communication between DYS and the parents. One result is that Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility now offers family fun nights, for example.