DCYF Juvenile Rehabilitation Summer Newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

A Message From Juvenile Rehabilitation

Summer Newsletter

In This Issue:

A Message From Assistant Secretary Felice Upton

In the summer issue of the Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) newsletter, you'll find a copy of Governor Inslee's proclamation naming July as JR Staff and Community Partner Appreciation Month. You’ll also hear from JR resident Jose and his bright future, find updates on promising practices work and educational change investments, read about the launch of an awesome new cosmetology program at Echo Glen Children's Center, and more! 

Thank you all for your support in this work as we head into summer and celebrate the achievements of our young people and the adults who care for them. As you see highlighted throughout this newsletter, we couldn't do this work successfully without advocates and partners like you. 

Felice Upton

Felice Upton

Assistant Secretary, Juvenile Rehabilitation

Recent News

Celebrating Echo Glen's Successes

DOC’s Prison Medicine Garden Staff Provide Guidance to DCYF to Develop Program at Correctional Youth Facility

Elevating Trauma-Informed Care in JR

Mental Health Awareness Month in JR

Town Halls for Transition and Independent Living Redesign Project

Young Echo Glen Writers Published in South Seattle Emerald


Employment Outcomes for Clients Released From Juvenile Rehabilitation (SFY19-20)

Juvenile Rehabilitation Fact Sheet (FY16-21)

Juvenile Rehabilitation Length of Stay Trends (FY19-21)

Juvenile Rehabilitation: Reporting Clients Served and ADP Calculation

Juvenile Rehabilitation Youth Engagement Request Form

Gov. Inslee Proclaims July as JR Staff & Community Partner Appreciation Month

We Are JR graphic

Every day of the year, JR staff provide critical support to justice-involved youth. Last year, DCYF unofficially named July as JR Staff Appreciation Month to celebrate and honor the important work of these public servants. This year, Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed July as Juvenile Rehabilitation Staff and Community Partner Appreciation Month.

In any given year, there are more than 700 young people in Washington’s JR system of care who rely on a dedicated network of facility staff, counselors, educators, community partners, career advisors, psychologists, mentors, and volunteers to open their hearts and provide individualized care, support, and guidance to them at a time of personal crisis. From providing tailored treatment plans for each young person to creating meaningful employment pathways, mentorship to therapeutic programming, JR staff require immense compassion, patience, and resilience in caring for Washington’s most vulnerable youth.

Our collective work in JR contributes to a healthier Washington and helps ensure youth in greatest need are supported for successful reentry to their community, equipped with the resources, connections, and tools needed to transition to adulthood.

Thank you to all of our staff, community partners, and advocates for your unwavering commitment and dedication to Washington’s young people! 

JR Launches First Recruitment Video

Staff walking at Green Hill School with words "JR - creating bright futures"

Click the image to watch the video

JR recently launched its first recruitment video as part of the division's larger hiring and retention goals. Part of this work has been to reshape the narrative of what working in JR looks like and define the type of people who would excel in the JR workspace.

“We know that we need to attract not just employees, but team members that our staff and youth are proud to work with,” said JR Assistant Secretary Felice Upton.  

In this recruitment video, you’ll get a clear look at JR’s vision and hear directly from staff on why they do this critical and deeply rewarding work, what keeps them here, and who should apply.

Please share the video link with anyone interested in exploring an exciting career working with young people in JR! 

DCYF Team Travels to Utah for Promising Practices Work

JR staff in Utah

Like many states, Washington has taken actionable steps to improve the treatment of justice-involved youth. In light of research documenting the harm of solitary confinement, House Bill 2277—passed during the 2020 Legislative Session—prohibits the use of solitary confinement altogether, and limits the use of room confinement and isolation with the intention that facilities reduce their reliance on confinement in favor of other effective and less restrictive alternatives. In support of this directive, DCYF staff applied for and were selected to participate in Georgetown University’s Ending Isolation in Youth Facilities Certificate program.

Last year, a team of DCYF staff, including research staff, direct care, mental health staff, and JR headquarters staff, attended a week-long training in Washington, D.C., to learn from national juvenile justice experts, and design a capstone project to implement at Green Hill School. While JR facilities have made notable strides in reducing room confinement and isolation in recent years, the capstone project strives for further progress through engendering a culture of safety and well-being by ensuring that youth at highest risk of confinement receive wrap-around services.

In May 2022, the DCYF team traveled to Utah’s Division of Juvenile Justice and Youth Services (JJYS), one of Georgetown University’s Promising Practice Sites. While visiting, DCYF staff convened with leadership and direct care staff, toured Weber Valley and Mill Creek facilities, and discussed critical challenges and opportunities, including staffing levels, caring for and supporting staff, staff training, working with older youth populations, connecting families to the treatment process, and the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Read the full article

Youth Voice: Jose Looks to a Bright Future

Picture of Jose skiing next to a big foot sculpture

“My name is Jose, and I am 20 years old. At 16, I was booked into juvie, and I have been incarcerated since then. Spending two years at Green Hill School changed my mindset a lot. I’ve grown, and while at Green Hill, I would always think about the things I would do when I get released but not really plan on what I should do to prepare when I get released. When I came to Canyon View Community Facility in East Wenatchee, my opportunities skyrocketed.

I received my diploma from Eastmont High School. I got my first job here just to start off, and then a second one at a welding company. Then the thought of college rolled in, and I loved it. I am currently enrolled as a full-time student at Wenatchee Valley College for my welding certificate.

Being able to experience all this is great. It’s something I wish could have come earlier in my life. Having the opportunity to reach my goals is a blessing. Knowing now that I’ll be released with more than I can ask for is great. My counselor really helped me every step of the way. She made a big difference in my future. Being in JR for me has opened many doors to new beginnings as I work toward a brighter future.”

– Jose, age 20, JR resident

POST Study Update

Group of people helping each other up a mountain

Young people in Washington State’s JR are at incredibly high risk of substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorders (OUDs). About two-thirds of JR youth report SUDs on intake, with the vast majority indicating at least some degree of problematic substance use. Based on recent data, almost one third of youth in our system have OUDs. Since 2021, DCYF’s 11 residential JR facilities have been participating in the POST study, which stands for Positive Outcomes through Supported Transition.

The POST Study is testing two OUD prevention programs of lower and high intensity. The programs are based on an evidence-based SUD treatment program called the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach with Assertive Continuing Care. POST utilizes support coaches that help discharging youth with goal-setting, active connections to resources, and, in the higher intensity group, skills development. This approach has never been tested as a strategy to prevent unintentional opioid overdose, OUD initiation, or escalation. This is what the POST study aims to do – to determine which intensity program is best as youth transition out of confinement, and once they are back in the community. So far, 68 young people have participated in the study.

“Having somebody to talk to, someone just constantly reminding me what I want to do…I’ve been better with my anger, I think I've been better at understanding what I want with life,” said one youth participant.

The POST study is funded by a grant that was jointly submitted by Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington School of Social Work, and DCYF. The NIH HEAL (Helping End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative funds it. DCYF will use learnings from the POST Study to inform the use of cost effective SUD treatment and OUD prevention programming. Through 2024, the agency and its partners in this work will conduct this randomized controlled trial, and anticipate enrolling up to 300-400 youth from all JR facilities.

Echo Glen Beauty School – A Cut Above!

Echo Glen Beauty School Ribbon Cutting

After a year and a half of planning, hard work, and tenacity from many people behind the scenes, the cosmetology program at Echo Glen Children's Center has launched. In May 2022, staff, students, and visitors attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

The idea for this program came from JR Security Officer Jose “Freddy” Ruiz, who shared it with then-Superintendent Felice Upton. From there, a conversation started with Evergreen Beauty College, and after a campus tour, a partnership was struck and the salon was created on-site. 

Using dedicated funding to expand college and vocational programs, students will attend 1,600 hours of instruction and receive hands-on education in hair treatment and styling, skincare, manicures, pedicures, and more. The yearlong program also provides an opportunity for youth to earn a Washington State cosmetology certification, paving the way for rewarding careers providing all cosmetology services typically offered in the profession.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the first cohort of young people enrolled in the program shared what they have been learning and how excited they are to learn this trade.

“It gives me hope about my future and I feel supported and believed in,” said one student. “I finally feel like I have a chance to change my life.”  

Echo Glen youth and staff alike are thrilled about the program. Aligning with DCYF’s Strategic and Racial Equity Plan, opportunities like this help young people to not only find employment, but also meaning, and to learn that they are capable and competent as they transition into adulthood.

Thank you to every person who turned this idea into reality!

Transforming Education in Juvenile Rehabilitation

Student learning lessons in school library, using laptop

Learning systems and educational outcomes for young people in secure facilities have been wrought with challenges and barriers every step of the way. For many young people in JR, school has been a negative, and sometimes harmful experience. Especially with disproportionate rates of expulsion and disciplinary actions imposed on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth along with poorly designed policies that force them out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. Data from the Education and Data Research Center makes this clear:

  • 16% of detained students graduated from high school, compared to 72% of non-detained students.
  • 57% of detained students dropped out of high school, compared to 14% of non-detained students.
  • 16% of detained students earned a GED certificate, compared to 2% of non-detained students.
  • Postsecondary enrollment (both two- and four-year colleges) among detained students was lower (37%) than non-detained youth (51%).

Fortunately, during the 2021 Legislative Session, Washington State lawmakers unanimously decided it was time to invest resources, time, and attention to changing how education is delivered in secure facilities by passing HB 1295. This bill has offered Washington (and JR) an unprecedented opportunity to radically transform how we meet the education needs of the student population we serve. 

In partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and American Institutes for Research (AIR), JR is reimagining and dreaming big about what high-quality public education can look like when built on a foundation of deeper learning, strong mentorship, and personalized pathways designed to meet the unique needs of our student population.

Read the full article

Staff Voice: Adrian Shares What Motivates His Work in JR

"I love it when families tell me that I totally changed their idea of what working with a parole counselor is. That's what motivates me."

Career Opportunities

Listed below are key job openings in JR. The following positions are open to all, so please share with anyone who may be interested: