Author: Kim Godfrey

Committed to continuous improvement, the Performance-based Standards (PbS) Learning Institute convened a panel of national experts and practitioners to review the standards for PbS for Community Residential Programs. PbS held the meeting on Sept. 18-19, 2018 in Boston.

Following the success of PbS to improve conditions of confinement and the quality of life in youth correction, detention and assessment centers, PbS for community residential programs was developed and launched in the spring of 2008. Over the past 10 years, the program has helped state, local and private agencies measure and monitor the services provided to juvenile justice youths in residential care in the community. It has been updated and revised slightly over the years as requests were submitted. Last month’s review was two days devoted to going standard-by-standard, considering the changes submitted by PbS participants, the most recent research and also lessons learned from PbS’ project developing reentry measurement standards. The panel’s thoughtful consideration, extensive experience and insightful input resulted in two new areas of goals and standards – Family and Community Connections and Education and Employment – and many helpful revisions that ensure PbS for community residential programs continues to be meaningful to the field. The revised standards will be available to PbS participants for additional comments through the end of the year.

The community standards model – a set of national standards for operations, conditions and quality of life in community residential programs that is continuously measured and monitored with high-quality, comparable data – was developed working with community residential providers, agency leaders and on-the-ground program teams, as well as field testing in several jurisdictions before launching nationally. The model incorporated the lessons learned from PbS’ award-winning model for correction, detention and assessment facilities launched in 1995 by the US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). PbS community standards address the areas of safety, security, behavior management, programming and education, reentry, family, health and behavioral health and justice and offer on-line data collection and reporting, including automatic data collection using PbS kiosks and/or the application program interface (API). PbS provides a voice for youths, staff and families through surveys that many participants have used to ensure youths have a positive experience (a known contributor to continued delinquency and crime), engage families in treatment and discharge planning and ensure staff feel trained, supported and safe.

Currently programs implementing the model to ensure the youths are achieving the intended outcomes and receiving the expected services are located in seven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Rhode Island. Agencies use PbS for community programs largely as part of the contracting process to hold providers accountable for the services and outcomes expected for juvenile justice youths. Providers and program leaders use PbS to monitor and continually improve the services, practices and quality of life in their programs for youths, staff and families. For some examples, watch the PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award winners’ videos. The programs were selected for best exemplifying PbS’ vision that all youths in custody are treated as one of our own.

For more information, please visit the PbS website.

Community Residential Standards Review Panel and PbS Staff, from left to right: Patricia Rafferty, PbS; Alan Klein, RFK Children’s Action Corps; Kim Godfrey, PbS; Brian O’Neal, PbS; Akin Fadeyi, PbS; Brendan Donahue, PbS; Lisa Bjergaard, North Dakota DJS; Simon Gonsoulin, American Institutes for Research; Samantha Harvell, Urban Institute; Jonah Schennum, PbS; Tom Woods, Annie E. Casey Foundation; Daniele Rose, Massachusetts DYS; Timothy Allen, Massachusetts DYS; Barry Stoodley, PbS