CJJA Committees

Regional Directors

Kristi Bunkers 330X

Kristi Bunkers


Kristi Bunkers currently serves as the Director of Juvenile Services for the South Dakota Department of Corrections. In this position, she is responsible for the out-of-home placement of youth committed to the department’s care, as well as re-entry and aftercare services to include policy and process improvement planning for the division. With over twenty-eight years of experience in juvenile justice, Kristi has served on numerous policy committees and councils. She served as a member of the workgroup that was charged with examining South Dakota’s juvenile justice system and preparing policy recommendations to guide reform efforts. She currently serves as a member of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative Oversight Council charged with monitoring the impact of the reforms.

Kristi earned an M.S. in Counseling from South Dakota State University. She makes her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her husband Mark, two sons, Logan and Seth and their beloved corgi, Jessi.

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Larome Myrick


Larome Myrick is the Executive Director for the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families Division of Youth Development.  He began his career as direct-care staff and promoted to leadership positions in parole services and reentry at the Ohio Department of Youth Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and social sciences from the University of Toledo and master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lourdes College. Larome recently earned his PhD.

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Rachel Holt


Rachel Canuso Holt, a native of Philadelphia, graduated cum laude from George Washington University with a major in criminal justice and a minor in women’s studies. After graduation, she worked as a victim advocate for victims of domestic violence in the Washington D.C. court system and as a legal assistant for a small corporate law firm. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2007 with recognition for her participation in the Interdisciplinary training program in child abuse and neglect. During law school, she was a licensed legal intern in the school’s civil clinic and with the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office.

Upon graduation from law school, Holt was named an assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County where she served in the juvenile division prosecuting juvenile delinquents and youthful offenders and assisting with deprived matters. In August 2016, she started duties as deputy general counsel for the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). She was named an assistant attorney general on Nov. 1, 2016 and served in an assignment as the general counsel for OJA. In December 2017, Holt joined OJA as chief operating officer and senior general counsel. On May 19, 2021, the Oklahoma Senate confirmed Holt as executive director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

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Anders Jacobson


Anders Jacobson was appointed the Director of the Division of Youth Services in 2016. In his position he oversees the operations at 12 State operated youth centers, the juvenile detention system, and parole program services. Jacobson has worked in the juvenile justice field for 26 years, with many of those years spent in leadership roles at residential facilities operated by the state and within the private sector. As the director of DYS, Jacobson has complete oversight of the division’s advanced service delivery system, with a strong focus on outcomes and cross-system partnerships to ensure quality services are provided to youth in the division’s care.

Associate Committee

The CJJA Associate Committee is comprised of individuals who have serviced in the past in the capacity juvenile justice system administrator role (for two years or more).

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Simon Gonsoulin

Associate Committee Chair
CJJA Associate

Simon is a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in the Policy, Practice and Systems Change program.  He serves the Project Director of the National Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Neglected or Delinquent Children and Youth (NDTAC).  He has provided technical assistance on emergency/disaster preparedness for juvenile justice residential facilities across state and local jurisdictions.

Behavioral Health Committee

CJJA has convened a Behavioral Health Committee that includes Mental Health directors and persons directly overseeing mental health programming within jurisdictions to discuss current issues and Best Practices in delivering mental health services to youths.

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Heidi Mueller

Behavioral Health Committee Chair
Executive Director, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

Director Heidi Mueller was previously named Deputy Director of Programs for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in 2014. In that role, she served as the principal policy-making official for all of the Department’s programs including healthcare, behavioral health services, vocational and recreational programming. In addition, Heidi conceptualized and implemented the core IDJJ intervention and behavioral management programs.

Director Mueller earned her degree in Psychology and History from Macalester College. She also received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School.

Best Practices Committee

The CJJA Best Practices Committee continually seeks out information about programs and research that would be of significant interest to directors. Presentations are hosted by the CJJA Regions and CJJA Associate members on a rotating basis and are part of the CJJA Business Meetings.

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Lisa Bjergaard

Best Practices Committee Chair
Director, North Dakota Division of Juvenile Services

Lisa J. Bjergaard is the Director for the Division of Juvenile Services in North Dakota. DJS is the state’s juvenile corrections agency and is organized under the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. DJS operates both institutional and community corrections.

Lisa joined the North Dakota Division of Juvenile Services as a case manager in 1989 and in 1993 became the Regional Manager for the eastern half of North Dakota. In 2006, Lisa was named Director.

Code of Practice Committee

Currently, there are no national standards for crisis intervention, violence and harm prevention, or any type of universal behavior response training. The CJJA Code of Practice emphasizes the need for facility safety which involves reducing the use of all forms of restraints (physical, mechanical, and chemical) and reducing or eliminating the use of isolation. This working committee examines data and research on best practices; reviews existing policies and procedures; discusses the most effective practices in the field. The committee’s main purpose is to develop national standards to reflect the least restrictive and most effective intervention strategies for each of the identified practice areas. Establishing national standards will provide guidance to juvenile justice leaders and staff with the goal of encouraging staff to employ effective strategies when working with youth and families. Ultimately, setting national expectations will improve the safety of facilities and positively impact youth and family outcomes.

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Susan Burke

Code of Practice Committee Chair
CJJA Associate

As a former probation executive and head of a state juvenile corrections agency, Susan Burke brings nearly 30 years of experience in the justice field to her position as executive director of The Carey Group. She led both adult and juvenile justice reform in Utah; championed legislation to offer treatment rather than incarceration to substance-dependent individuals involved in the criminal justice system; shaped state policies on a variety of justice-related issues; and served on many national boards.

She is the former president of the American Probation and Parole Association and has served on the executive committees for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the Justice Center Board for the Council of State Governments, and the National Association of Probation Executives. Susan has used Carey Group Publishing resources in her own agencies to strengthen practices and improve outcomes for system-involved individuals.

Her skills in strategic planning and the application of evidence-based practices resulted in a 15 percent improvement in felony-free behavior for system-involved individuals within a five-year period. She received the Youth Advocate of the Year award in 2002 and again in 2018 from the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice. She also received, from the Council of Juvenile Corrections Administrators, the President’s Award in 2013 and the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2015.

She has spoken at national conferences, been a keynote speaker, and is an inspirational leader for community corrections. She has a strong belief that with the right tools and the right mindset, any justice agency can fulfill its mission to help individuals contribute to a safer community.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee seeks to provide policy and guidance on engaging with internal and external stakeholders, to include youth and their families, through various media and social platforms. Committee members include public information officers, the individuals responsible for preparing and disseminating agency messages.


Steven Lafreniere

Communications Committee Chair
Executive Director, Alabama Department of Youth Services

Steven Lafreniere was appointed as Executive Director of the Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) July 1st 2014. Prior to coming to DYS, Mr. Lafreniere worked for the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) for nearly seventeen (17) years and held numerous positions within that department including: Resource Specialists, Coordinator of Child and Family Services (Mental Illness Division); and Director of the Office of Children’s Services for the Department of Mental Health. Prior to state service, he worked for a Community Mental Health Center as a child and family therapist and evaluated youth in detention who had been committed to DYS. He serves on numerous state and national committees related to At-Risk youth and delinquency. He currently serves as Vice President of the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJCA). He has worked with youth and families since 1988 through a variety of disciplines and settings.

Mr. Lafreniere is a graduate of Auburn University and Auburn University Montgomery with a Master of Science in Psychology. He lives in Wetumpka Alabama with his wife Kelly and they have two daughters.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

The CJJA DEI Committee works to develop best practices pertaining diversity, equity, and inclusion to integrate into juvenile justice policies, procedures and practices.

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Larome Myrick

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Chair
Executive Director, Rhode Island DCYF Division of Youth Development

Larome is the Executive Director for the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families Division of Youth Development.  He began his career as direct-care staff and promoted to leadership positions in parole services and reentry at the Ohio Department of Youth Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and social sciences from the University of Toledo and master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lourdes College. Larome recently earned his PhD.

Position Paper Committee

The CJJA Position Paper Committee prepare brief articles regarding best practices for issues for juvenile justice field.

Valerie Boykin Photo

Valerie Boykin

Position Paper Committee Chair
CJJA Associate

Valerie is the former Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice. She has more than 30 years of experience in juvenile justice and human services. She is an experienced Independent Juvenile Justice Consultant and has provided management consultation, training, and technical assistance in a number of human services and juvenile corrections settings. She has consulted with federal governmental agencies such as OJJDP, BJA, Health and Human Services’ Children and Family Services Bureau, and the National Highway and Transportation Administration. Her consultation includes considerable work with various state and local entities, along with non-profit organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Ms. Boykin completed undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia in 1980 and received a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in 1989.

Positive Youth Outcome (PYO) Committee

The Positive Youth Outcomes (PYO) committee, made up of CJJA members, research and clinical staff.  The committee seeks to improve juvenile justice agencies’ capacities to collect and utilize positive youth outcomes data. The information will help CJJA come to consensus, and develop guidelines, on the most appropriate and useful methods for collecting and analyzing positive outcome data within juvenile correctional agencies.

Joe OLeary

Joe O'Leary

Positive Youth Outcome (PYO) Committee Chair
Director, Oregon Youth Authority

Joe O’Leary became the director of Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) in February 2018, after being appointed by Governor Kate Brown and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. He joined the agency as its deputy director in 2013. His professional experience ranges from working as a public defender to advising two governors on public safety and legal issues.

As director, Joe is responsible for overseeing the operations of the agency, which serves about 1,100 youth ages 12-24 at any given time — about 450 in close custody across the state, and another 650 on probation or parole.

During his tenure, Joe has deepened OYA’s commitment to developmental and therapeutic approaches for youth in the agency’s care; launched an agency initiative focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion; presided over the construction of new, developmentally appropriate housing and a high school inside two secure facilities; and fostered the agency’s successful effort to reduce its use of secure isolation for youth in custody.

PREA Committee

CJJA has convened a PREA Committee that includes CJJA members, their state PREA Coordinators and national representatives from the PREA Resource Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The Committee provides a forum for members to network, share promising practices, hear from national leaders and gain knowledge from peer discussions focused on addressing the PREA standards.

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Eric Meaux

PREA Committee Chair
Chief, Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department (AZ)

Eric Meaux has served as Chief of the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department since 2012.  Chief Meaux is one of three appointed authorities for the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, the 4th largest county in the U.S. His overall responsibilities include all juvenile custodial intake (secure detention), investigation, diversion, and probation supervision functions involving 5,000 alleged and adjudicated youth annually.

Prior to his appointment in 2012, Chief Meaux served as the Director of the Delinquency and Courts Services Division for Milwaukee County in Wisconsin since 2007. In Wisconsin, Mr. Meaux co-chaired Milwaukee County’s Community Justice Council – Committee on Juvenile Justice, represented Milwaukee County and testified in State Legislative committees including budget hearing sessions, “raise the age” legislation, high-risk offenders, and served as a Governor appointee to the State of Wisconsin’s Juvenile Justice Commission.

Prior to these appointments, Mr. Meaux held various public and private positions serving the juvenile justice field since 1994. Mr. Meaux has a B.S. and M.S. degree in Criminal Justice in addition to an Associate degree in Police Science. His work in the juvenile justice field for both government and non-profit agencies, is supplemented by number of years services as an elected Councilman for the City of Wauwatosa in Wisconsin having served as Council President, Interim Mayor, and Public Safety Committee Chair.

Research and Data Analysis Committee

The Research and Data Analysis Committee is comprised of CJJA members and research/analyst staff.  The goal of the committee is to expand the use of data and analysis to enhance the effectiveness of practices, guide policy and practice decisions of juvenile justice leaders, and increase research partnerships.  Outcome data provide the basis for designing more effective programs and services, inform decision makers about levels of success related to objectives and examine the effects of programmatic and/or policy changes, and demonstrate accountability for juvenile justice agencies.  The committee strives for standardization of measurement and terms to ensure possible comparisons across studies and jurisdictions.


Christy K. Daly

Research and Data Analysis Committee Chair
(former) Secretary, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

Christy Daly Brodeur has two decades of experience working with the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch on public policy for children and families.  Most recently she served as Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice where she played an integral role in the development and implementation of data-driven reform in the largest, most comprehensive, juvenile justice system in the country.  The success of Florida’s reforms is evidenced by the dramatic drop in all major categories of crime during her tenure, leading to the lowest level of juvenile delinquency in more than 40 years. She has also contributed to the national movement of juvenile justice reform and is seen as a national leader in her field.

Christy is a passionate advocate for children and families and a known collaborator.  She has successfully partnered with many stakeholder groups, such as law enforcement, the judiciary, and child welfare and is known to manage challenging issues and competing priorities.

Prior to becoming Secretary, Christy held numerous leadership positions at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services.   She has worked nationally with the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA), currently serving as Chair of the Data and Analysis Committee.

Christy currently serves on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend, the Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program, Inspire of Central Florida, a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities and life skills training for adults with developmental disabilities, and was recently appointed by Governor DeSantis to the Volunteer Florida Commission.