Finalist for Change
Fifth Judicial District Community Corrections - Emporia, Kansas
As the Juvenile Probation Supervisor and Home Court Coordinator for the 5th Judicial District Community Corrections Erin Rodriguez has developed a variety of programs designed to enable youth on probation to stay in their community, and help them grow and develop positive skills. The vision of Home Court is to transform the community, one family at a time, by providing an opportunity for every child to achieve their full potential, and to empower the family to guide and sustain their success.
- Safely maintain the youth in the home
- Increase family protective factors while reducing risk factors
- Reduce criminal recidivism
- Reduce substance abuse
- Increase youth’s success in obtaining their personal goals
Families enrolled in Home Court receive 20 hours of trauma informed, cognitive-based family therapy within a 6-month timeframe. Currently utilizing Parent Management Training, participating families learn a variety of lessons including effective reprimands and appropriate punishment behaviors, compromising effectively, and strategies to deal with road blocks and difficult questions. This treatment has significantly changed even the most difficult and challenging behaviors.
The foundation of the program is to provide families the resources and support required to be successful. The program encourages families to accept responsibility, and works to foster family readiness to change. Home Court helps families identify their strengths and improve communication, parenting, and problem-solving skills. They provide an ongoing parent support network through support groups and parent-to-parent contact. Additionally, Home Court provides a family counselor to do family counseling and education in the home, and connects families with additional community resources.
The majority (80-percent) of families participating in Home Court achieved an increase in parental capacity to protect areas identified as risky (based on the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale). For example, in one closure assessment, the family showed progress during their participation in the Home Court program with a score increase by 40 points, from a -22 at intake, to -3 at interim, to a score of 18 at closure. 100% of the NCFAS reassessments done at closure showed an improvement in protective skills.
Parents in the Home Court program work with a Risk Reduction Officer, with an emphasis on meeting personalized benchmarks. Financial incentives are provided. Milestones have included improved financial management skills, and assistance navigating complicated processes for activities including application for children’s medical cards, family access to psychiatric services at local health department, and funding for child’s braces. Achievements can be varied, based on the needs of each situation. Examples include facilitating a resistant parent’s admission of their illegal substance use, and teaching organization skills to manage needs of children in the home.
Additionally, it is a program goal that all youth in the Home Court program experience a decrease in risk scores based on the Youth Level of Service Inventory (YLS). In the recent quarter, of the four-youth eligible for assessment, three had a decrease in their YLS scores and one youth’s score remained the same.