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DYRS Agency Progress, Case Management Reforms, Action Plan 
Mayor Adrian Fenty, Director Vincent Schiraldi
February 13, 2008




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Executive Office of the Mayor
February 13, 2008
Reggie Sanders
(202) 279-0957 cell

Fenty, DYRS Announce Agency Progress, Case Management Reforms:
Reforms aimed at improving Care of Youth; DYRS case management

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Director Vincent Schiraldi today announced the implementation of a number of systemic reforms to improve care of youth under the department's supervision, including the initiation of several model programs and reforms in the department's case management services. After three years as a cabinet-level agency, Director Schiraldi also reviewed DYRS' accomplishments.

"As the former chair of the Human Services Committee and now as Mayor, I am well aware of the change that was needed in this agency, and I am glad to see that we are on our way to becoming a model for other cities to emulate," said Mayor Fenty. "Changing a culture is a difficult task and we still have a long way to go, but we are on the right path and I'm committed to seeing these reforms through."

DYRS Accomplishments

Schiraldi reviewed significant agency accomplishments since becoming a cabinet-level agency three years ago including:

  • Significant improvements in conditions and programming at the Oak Hill Youth Center, including reserving the facility for more serious youth and holding them for longer periods of time
  • Implementation of Evidence Based Programs in the community to help youth transition to adulthood successfully
  • Successful implementation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in partnership with the Family Court, Court Social Services, the Office of the Attorney General and others
  • Substantial decline in youth on abscondance status
  • Significant case management and supervision reforms (including partnerships with Peaceaholics, the Alliance of Concerned Men and others)
  • Withdrawal of Receivership motion by the Plaintiffs in the Jerry M case, and approval of a workplan with exit criteria
  • Implementation of the acclaimed See Forever/Maya Angelou School program at Oak Hill
  • Creating a multitude of Positive Youth Development opportunities for youth, including:
    • Gulf Coast Recovery and Civic Justice Corp
    • Youth and staff participating in cultural and wilderness learning experiences, such as performing Shakespeare, traveling to the Navajo Nation in Arizona
  • Massive training of DYRS Staff in Principles of Positive Youth Development and best practices in juvenile justice programming, and holding staff accountable for subpar performance.

"These are important steps that are part of our larger reform effort to provide appropriate services, supports and supervision to youth under our care, Director Schiraldi said. "I appreciate the continued support of the Mayor and his unwavering leadership as we move forward. His sense of urgency is exactly what's needed to help us break down the bureaucratic barriers that had stymied reform efforts of years gone by. We are nowhere near satisfied with the change that has taken place, or the pace of the reforms, but we firmly believe we are on track to becoming a model juvenile justice agency."

Schiraldi also unveiled a raft of case management reforms being implemented including the implementation of a Structured Decision Making risk assessment tool to help case managers assess the relative risk of youth on their caseloads; the careful selection of, and heightened attention to, those DYRS youth most at-risk of re-offense; continued retraining of all case management staff to focus on enhancing the strengths of DYRS youth; maintaining reduced caseloads of 25 youth per case manager down from 35-40 per case manager a year ago; and the establishment in November 2007 of case management protocols against which case managers will be evaluated (including the use of a computerized system to monitor case managers' contacts with youth). Schiraldi also announced that all cases of DYRS youth will be carefully audited going back six months with appropriate discipline applied to any DYRS staff who have failed to adequately supervise DYRS youth.

"While the majority of our case managers are hard working and care deeply about our youth, for too long there had been insufficient guidance to ensure consistent services and supervision, and inadequate accountability when lapses occurred," Schiraldi noted.


Office of the Director

DYRS Action Plan to Improve Case Management and Supervision of Youth

February 2008

  • Reducing case loads to 25 cases per worker (have achieved reduced caseload of 25 per worker, for 90% of caseworkers, down from 35-45 cases per worker in Jan '07)
  • Revised the Case Management Manual to increase accountability and level of supervision and engagement with committed youth.
  • Trained all case managers in the new manual in Nov. '07
  • Training all case managers in Positive Youth Development (have trained 75% of case managers as of February '08)
  • Regionally deploying the case management units into Wards 8, 7, and 5, which account for 70% of DYRS committed youth. (Ward 8 by 3/1, Ward 7 by 7/08, and Ward 5 by 10/08).
  • Developing and implementing a new structured decision making process to assess, classify, and develop case plans for committed youth, which includes Youth Family Team Meetings for all committed youth. (Begin by 2/22)
  • Hiring court representation specialists to represent case managers in court in order to allow them to spend more time with the youth on their caseload (By 3/17)
  • Implementing Regional Services Coalitions to completely revamp and improve the provision of community based services, opportunities, and supports for committed youth. (By October '08)
  • Conduct a full and complete Audit of all cases of committed youth in the community going back 6 months, apply the appropriate case management standard at the time and issue discipline as appropriate. (By 2/11)
  • Score all committed youth on new risk assessment instrument and determine other criteria to identify the top 50 most at risk committed youth and develop protocols and program for intensive supervision for this case load. Will include regular high level supervision of this case load (By 2/15)
  • Complete the revision of the revocation policy and regulations (By 2/15)

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