The Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA) is a national non-profit organization, formed in 1994 (as CJCA) to improve local juvenile correctional services, programs and practices so the youths within the systems succeed when they return to the community and to provide national leadership and leadership development for the individuals responsible for the systems. CJJA represents the youth correctional CEOs in 50 states, Puerto Rico and major metropolitan counties.
CJJA fulfills its mission through educational activities and programs as well as research and technical assistance projects. Education activities include up to three annual meetings free for all directors offering sessions on best practices and evidence-based approaches. The meetings convene leaders from each state and several large counties to share information, identify issues and strategies to address them and form a national voice for youth corrections. Education activities also include presentations at conferences hosted by other national organizations and disseminating written materials to the public and policy-makers about the issues in youth corrections, describing the youths and their needs and the system’s successes and shortcomings.
Michael P. Dempsey
Mike follows the first Executive Director Edward J. Loughran for CJCA, (now CJJA) who founded the national organization of youth correction chief executive officers in 1994.
Mike previously served as Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Division of Youth Services from 2009 to 2015. He began his work with the Indiana Department of Corrections as Superintendent of the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in June 2006. Prior to moving to Indiana, he served as the Superintendent of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex for approximately two and a half years. He began his career in corrections with the Missouri Department of Corrections, starting as a Corrections Officer at the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1985. Since that time, Mike has held positions as a Correctional Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Major. He has also held positions as Correctional Training Officer, Internal Affairs Investigator, Assistant Superintendent and Associate Superintendent.
He has extensive experience with CJCA (CJJA) and Performance-based Standards (PbS). He served as president of the CJCA Board of Directors for two years (2012-2014), and on the PbS Board of Directors for four years, two of those years as president. Mike was an active member of CJCA while he was director of Indiana DYS.
Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Criminal Justice and has been actively involved with the American Correctional Association (ACA) as a member and certified auditor. He mostly served as the President/COO of Youth Opportunity Investments and brings a unique experience and perspective in both the public and private sectors in the juvenile justice field.
Assistant Executive Director
Prior to joining the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators, Wendi Davis served as Deputy Director of the Division of Facility Support for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. She was responsible for security, classification, operations, unit management, treatment and programming within the DYS facilities. The Division also included Medical Services and the Buckeye United School District. Before this role, she served as the Bureau Chief of the Office of Quality Assurance and Improvement for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. She was responsible for agency quality assurance efforts to include policy, research, auditing, and process improvement. In addition to this considerable responsibility, Mrs. Davis also had oversight of the agency’s Office of Information Technology Services which involves networking, telecommunications, desktop computing, application development, project management services, and unified communications such as email and calendaring. Serving as a trusting advisor, Mrs. Davis serves a mentor to those who work under her leadership.
With over 23 years of experience in criminal and juvenile justice, Mrs. Davis has served on numerous national and statewide policy committees and councils. During her career, she has presented to various audiences on a wide range of criminal justice and juvenile justice topics. Her breadth and scope of the criminal justice and juvenile justice fields, specifically correctional administration, makes her not only a leader, but also a subject matter expert.
Mrs. Davis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Franklin University, Ohio and a Master of Business Administration with a Leadership concentration.
Director of Administration
Prior to joining CJJA, Ms. Walker spent over 20 years with the Indiana Department of Correction. Natalie started her career with IDOC as a correctional officer. The last 4 years of her tenure was spent serving as Assistant Director for IDOC Division of Youth Services. In that role, she aided in overseeing operations, treatment and re-entry at Indiana DYS facilities. Ms. Walker oversaw the implementation of evidence-based programming, monitored compliance with Division’s policies, and provided support to facility and agency heads. During her career, Ms. Walker participated as a panelist for presentations regarding juvenile justice practices.
Natalie has experience with Performance-based Standards (PbS) as a Site Coordinator and State Coordinator. Indiana PbS sites consists of DYS facilities, 3 detention centers and 1 community-based program. Ms. Walker supported the sites with the PbS cycle of data collection, reviewing reports and development of facility improvement plans.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from DePauw University, Indiana.
Kevin recently retired from the Ohio Department of Youth Services where he spent nearly 28 years serving in a variety of positions. He has worked for more than 30 years in the juvenile justice arena. Most recently, Kevin served as the Bureau Chief of Unit Management where he oversaw nearly all interaction on the living units to include programming, youth incentives, youth discipline, visitation, recreation, property, sanitation, etc. Kevin previously served as the Deputy Director of Release, Parole, and Reentry, having responsibility for the Release Authority, Bureau of Parole, Office of Reentry, and Office of Victim Services. As the Chief of Parole, he was instrumental in reshaping the bureau to partner with other child-serving agencies and to function as an empirically driven, family-friendly entity.
Kevin has presented on numerous juvenile justice issues at national, state, and local levels. He has a tremendous passion to create, improve, and streamline juvenile justice efforts to do everything possible to ensure youth leave the system at a far better level than when they entered.
Kevin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University, with a minor in Sociology.
Director of Training and Development
Stephanie serves as the Director of Training and Development for the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA). Stephanie was a national juvenile justice consultant who provides guidance to elected and appointed officials to improve public safety and address those factors which contribute to crime, addiction, mental health and family wellness.
For the past fifteen years, Stephanie’s expertise has guided officials in 23 states and over 60 counties through initiatives to improve detention facilities, implement research-based assessment instruments and create community programs to improve outcomes for criminal justice systems.
She has served as the National Training Director for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives (JDAI), and was the liaison to the National Association of Counties Public Safety Committee and to the State-appointed Governor’s Councils for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She founded programs to reduce homelessness, “Reception Centers” and was recognized by HUD with an innovation award for helping thousands of at-risk youth succeed.
Diane is employed by CJJA as the controller and handles all areas of the financial operations of both CJJA and PbS Learning Institute. Diane has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Newbury College and has worked in non-profit organizations for over 20 years.
Charity Brenstuhl serves as Program Coordinator for the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators, a position she has held since 2019. Charity is responsible for organizing programs and activities in accordance with the mission and goals of CJJA; Developing new programs and strategies to support the strategic direction of the organization. Charity holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has been a long -time supportive of providing solid, innovative educational opportunities for children.