The Youth in Custody Certificate Program is designed to help leaders implement or accelerate systemic change to improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings. Most efforts to date have focused on ensuring that low and moderate-risk youth are not committed to juvenile justice facilities. Less attention has been paid to best practices for serving the high-risk youth who are in the custody of the juvenile justice system. Also, while research has shown the juvenile justice field “what works” for this population, it is often difficult for juvenile justice systems to reform their practices to be in line with best practices.
The training provides an interactive and dynamic learning environment with instruction from national experts on cutting edge ideas, policies and practices from across the country. Specifically, the program focuses on the serious, high-risk juvenile offender population and utilizes modules that review and integrate best practices around culture change and leadership, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and trauma-informed treatment services, strength-based approaches and reentry planning and support.
Upon completion participants receive an Executive Certificate from Georgetown University, membership into CJJR’s Fellows Network and ongoing support from its staff.
CJJR has partnered with the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators to provide this professional development opportunity, which was developed with support from the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Division of Youth Services.
As part of the program, participants are required to develop and implement a Capstone Project – a set of actions designed to initiate or continue collaborative efforts related to improving outcomes for youth in the post-adjudication custody of the juvenile justice system. Participants develop and implement the Capstone Project during the twelve-month period following the completion of their certificate program session. During that time, they are offered technical assistance from instructors.
Examples of Capstone Projects include: developing a more robust array of services for youth in secure settings, reducing the use of large congregate placements for youth in custody, incorporating a variety of best practices into residential facilities in the participant’s jurisdiction, a concerted effort to improve mental health services for youth in care, and more.
Learn more about Capstone Projects.
Tuition & Application
Tuition & Application
Tuition subsidies are available through CJJR’s Janet Reno Scholarships and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Center for Coordinated Assistance to States. These competitive scholarships of up to $1,000 per person will be provided to teams that show a heightened readiness to utilize the curriculum to undertake changes in their local community, as determined by CJJR’s review of the individual and team applicants. There will also be a separate category of need-based subsidies available through CJJR to support the participation of individuals and teams with demonstrated need. Read more about tuition.
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While there are no minimum education or experience requirements to apply, a preference will be given to those in a professional position to move reform efforts forward upon completion of the program. Participants can be individuals working on youth in custody issues at the local, state, or national level.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as a team of up to eight individuals from the same jurisdiction. While each application will be reviewed on an individual basis, the value of this team approach will be considered in our review of applicants. CJJR particularly encourages teams comprised of both public and private agency leaders.
Teams should be comprised of applicants with demonstrated readiness for implementing reforms, especially efforts that engage leaders in other systems, and their agency’s relationship with other child-serving agencies. Team members can be senior level professionals in the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, education, and other related systems of care.
Required team members include: Juvenile justice agency director / most senior juvenile justice leader in the jurisdiction, and/or key juvenile justice management staff, such as Program Directors, Deputy Directors, facility management, etc.
This program is NOT accepting applications from students who do not also hold a professional role in a child serving organization.
Curriculum & Instructors
Curriculum & Instructors
The curriculum will focus heavily on the change process that is needed to move forward reforms for youth in the custody of the juvenile justice system after case disposition. Case studies and other interactive learning techniques help participants apply the learning to situations they are likely to encounter. The program will also feature an expert panel of leaders that have successfully reformed or supported the way the juvenile justice system serves youth in custody. The curriculum includes the following modules:
Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities and Implicit Bias
Examines how to better serve youth of color in custodial settings, including talking about race and addressing implicit bias, examining data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, and identifying underlying causes of inequities and developing strategies to eliminate them.
Culture Change and Leadership
Discusses the importance of a clear vision, mission, and guiding principles of an agency; internal and external communication strategies, collaborative leadership for working across systems and with communities, and strategies for promoting accountability.
Discusses risk and need assessments, individualized treatment planning and coordination of care, and the matching of youth to placement and services that address their risk and needs. Addresses the challenges associated with proper use of assessment tools to connect youth to appropriate services and treatment modalities while in placement.
Discusses comprehensive planning in juvenile corrections, long-term consequences associated with inadequate education and support, how to build capacity to develop the array of services, placements, and educational programming required by youth in juvenile custody, and educational and vocational supports that are critical to effective reentry.
Case Planning, Treatment and Services: Creating Safe, Trauma-Responsive, Healthy Environments
Discusses how to build capacity to develop the array of services and placements required by youth in juvenile justice custody. Explores effective treatment practices for addressing substance abuse and mental health treatment needs. Discusses elements of trauma-informed-care, best practices for working with youth in residential centers, and more.
Transition and Reentry
Looks at the need to provide continued support during transition out of residential placement and upon return to the community, including development of comprehensive reentry planning, engaging families throughout the reentry process and providing continued support once a youth is released from custody.
Encourages participants to explore their own assumptions about the families of the youth with whom they work and analyze the challenges associated with effective family and youth engagement. Presents strategies for engagement in residential settings.
Provides perspectives from a panel of leaders that have successfully reformed or supported the way the juvenile justice system serves youth in custody in order to provide participants with real-life examples and an opportunity for an interactive dialogue.
2019 core program instructors include:
- Shay Bilchik, J.D., Director, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
- Susan Burke, M.A., Director, Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services
- Hernan Carvente, National Youth Partnership Strategist, Youth First Initiative
- Tim Decker, Director, Missouri Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division
- Michael Dempsey, Executive Director, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators
- David Domenici, J.D., Executive Director, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS)
- Monique Joseph, Ph.D., Juvenile Justice Consultant/Trainer, Youth Trauma and Justice Solutions
- Mack McGhee, M.A., Superintendent, New Beginnings Youth Development Center
- Ryan Shanahan, Ph.D., Research Director, Center on Youth Justice, Vera Institute of Justice
- Michael Umpierre, J.D., Deputy Director, Juvenile Justice System Improvement and Communications, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
- Christina Riggs Romaine, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College; Associate, National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP)
What our participants are saying
“The Utah Team is grateful for the excellent training opportunity that the 2017 Youth in Custody Certificate Program provided our leadership team. The education received from this program, and the follow up technical assistance has been extremely beneficial. The Capstone Project has helped us to focus on better engagement with families, education, mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors to promote positive youth development, which will ultimately benefit the youth we serve. We particularly enjoyed the family sessions because they taught us there are numerous ways to connect with families of youth in custody. If you are an agency committed to strengthening your work within and across systems to improve outcomes for youth, don’t miss out on this intensive learning opportunity.”
Utah Team | Class of 2017
“The YIC Certificate Program has valuable content that allowed team PICC to rethink how we devise treatment, assess and meet the needs of our youthful offenders. We are armed with the tools to promote substantial change from a holistic perspective from service provision to policy revision, and the YIC Certificate Program has resulted in us being more proficient corrections practitioners.”
Dr. Lynn Johnson-Gleaton, Psychologist, City of Philadelphia Prisons, Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center Team | Class of 2016
“We sent a large team of professionals responsible for youth in state custody and found the YIC Certificate Program to be completely worthwhile. Each session was rich in content as we benefitted by learning from national leaders in the fields that most impact the success of our work. We received practical ideas, developed stronger leadership capacity and formulated a plan with the help of the CJJR team that we are already putting into action. And it was fun! We are stronger as a team and have been empowered by this amazing experience to make a real difference in juvenile justice in our state and beyond. I encourage anyone interested in better outcomes for youth to take advantage of this wonderful program.”
Jill Mata, General Counsel, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Texas JJD Team | Class of 2015
“The quality of the Certificate Programs is well known within Nebraska and the expertise that is brought in to present is highly coveted by all professional working in juvenile justice. The group of presenters that were assembled was among the nation’s leaders and experts in the field of juvenile justice providing all participants an incredibly informative and engaging week. With the information gained at the CJJR Certificate Program along with the technical assistance provided by CJJR, we were able to bring back that knowledge to the state of Nebraska and greatly improve our juvenile justice reform efforts in the state. We can’t state enough how valuable and enriching the experience was for both of us.”
Nebraska Department of Probation Team | Class of 2014
Read more testimonials.