Tag Archives: Youth

Trauma and Youth Part II

Just sharing an infographic I ran across. I am collecting info on trauma and youth in my Pinterest page here:

Here’s the Trauma Tree:trauma-tree

 

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Restorative Justice Becomes Law

New legislation happened quietly this year in Washington that affects the juvenile justice system. I knew it was happening, but the legislators I work with wanted to keep it quiet. Sometimes, when a light shines on legislation, people stop doing the right thing and do what they think is politically correct to be re-elected.

The new legislation can be found here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2906-S.PL.pdf

The most important part of the legislation may be the addition of restorative justice as an alternative to secure detention:

“Community-based rehabilitation” means one or more of the following: Employment; attendance of information classes; literacy classes; counseling, outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, outpatient mental health programs, anger management classes, education or outpatient treatment programs to prevent animal cruelty, or other services including, when appropriate, restorative justice programs; or attendance at school or other educational programs appropriate for the juvenile as determined by the school district.”

Previously, restorative justice had restricted access. This opens it up for local municipalities to make their own judgment regarding what is good rehabilitation. It also defines restorative justice:

“Restorative justice” means practices, policies, and programs informed by and sensitive to the needs of crime victims that are designed to encourage offenders to accept responsibility for repairing the harm caused by their offense by providing safe and supportive opportunities for voluntary participation and communication between the victim, the offender, their families, and relevant community members.”

This is a big deal. Restorative justice is now codified in Washington state law!

We owe a great deal of thanks to Rep. Roger Goodman for being a tireless advocate of restorative justice. You can send a note of thanks via his assistant at: Derek.Zable@leg.wa.gov

Woohoo!!

Current Legislation in Olympia regarding Juveniles

Bill No. Description Thoughts
SHB 2746 Concerning mental health and chemical dependency treatment for juvenile offenders Adds residential treatment options for substance abuse and mental health issues to be considered “punishment” for a juvenile crime if a whole bunch of people including therapists agree that mental health or addiction is the root cause.

GOOD.

SB 6524 Addressing factors to be considered when sentencing youth in adult criminal court for crimes committed as minors Allows adult courts to consider mitigating factors that are not available for “adults” in adult court so that an “exceptional sentence below the standard range” may be applied if the judge so decides.

MOSTLY GOOD.

SHB 2906 Strengthening opportunities for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders

 

Note: This is nearly the same as SSB 6529. The main difference is it originates in the House.

Adds rehabilitation and reintegration as a purpose of juvenile detention to the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977.

 

Eliminates mandatory motor vehicle related fines

 

Gives prosecutors discretion regarding filing youth violence against family members as an official domestic violence complaint

 

Eliminates the requirement that courts notify DOL of juvenile offenses

 

Requires the court to defer disposition whenever they are eligible except in cases of animal cruelty.

GOOD.

SSB 6529 Strengthening opportunities for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders

 

Note: This is nearly the same as SHB 2906. The main difference is it originates in the Senate.

Requires the court to defer disposition whenever they are eligible except in cases of animal cruelty. If the juvenile makes the motion.

 

Gives prosecutors discretion regarding filing youth violence against family members as an official domestic violence complaint. Also eliminates mandatory arrest in youth DV situations.

 

Eliminates mandatory motor vehicle related fines

 

Eliminates the requirement that courts notify DOL of juvenile offenses

 

Adds rehabilitation and reintegration as a purpose of juvenile detention to the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977.

MOSTLY GOOD.

SB 6365 Establishing a lower age limit for discretionary decline hearings in juvenile court Establishes a minimum age for discretionary decline at 14 from non-existent. i.e. any age can currently be charged as an adult.

EXCELLENT.

Responsible Gun Ownership in Washington

The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition endorses the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s efforts to reduce gun violence by running an initiative on universal background checks (Initiative 594).

Universal Background Checks

We all agree that violent criminals and other threats to society should not possess firearms. That’s why licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks on all their sales. However, there is a hole in our laws that allow criminals and other dangerous people to go to “private sellers” at gun shows, on the Internet, and elsewhere to buy guns with no background check and no questions asked. Law enforcement agencies and public safety officials agree that this loophole promotes illegal gun trafficking and enables individuals with criminal intent to purchase firearms. This initiative will simply ensure that a background check is conducted for every gun purchase.

The time to act is now. The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition stands with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

If you would like to endorse I594, please visit the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Groundbreaking and Celebration!

Mentors in Mission Logo                         Join us!

Community Garden Groundbreaking Ceremony
Saturday, March 29th 9:00 am-3pm

..

Rainier Beach United Methodist Church
5500 South Roxbury Street

Come plant seeds to support our youth. 

RSVP on Facebook

The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition is a group of like- minded individuals and churches that seek to provide services, in a faith-based context, to youth affected by incarceration.  We are launching our new Mentors in Mission program  in partnership with Rainier Beach UMC which is designed to bring local mentors together with youth around gardening and mentoring.

Active Listening Methods

flickr photo by Wes Peck cc licensed (BYNC ND )
flickr photo by Wes Peck
cc licensed (BY NC ND )

Active listening is:

  • Hearing what the person says
  • Identifying and labeling the feelings a speaker experiences
  • Listening for undercurrent feelings not explicitly expressed by the speaker
  • Recognizing personal values and personal history revealed in conversation
  • Being empathetic, not sympathetic. Truly try to understand how the other person might be feeling without being judgmental. Your youth doesn’t want pity, but does want to feel like you understand, even if you can’t specifically relate the situation to your own life.

Some verbal response techniques for active listening include:

  • Paraphrases: Restatements of the speaker’s feeling or meaning in your own words. Paraphrases help against miscommunication and can clarify feelings.
    • “So, what I’m hearing you say is the security guard accused you of stealing the shirt, and called you a liar when you said it was paid for.”
  • Feeling reflections: Statements that focus on the emotions or feelings you observe in the speaker. This validates emotions.
    • “It sounds like you were angry when the guard accused you of stealing the shirt.”
  • Clarifications: Questions or comments to elicit more information from the speaker and to double-check your and the speaker’s understanding of the problem.
    • “And you said this happened yesterday?”
  • Neutral statements: Brief verbal responses that show the speaker that you are following the conversation.
    • “Mmhm. Gotcha. Then what?”
  • Summaries: Organizing statements that capture the speaker’s emotions and concerns concisely. A summary helps integrate the information you’ve heard, leads to new directions in conversation, and helps wrap up a listening session.
    • “Let me see if I understand you correctly. You feel thios situation is unfair and your first reaction was to get angry.”

Some non-verbal queues in active listening include:

  • Look the person in the eye. Good eye contact shows that you are paying attention and take the conversation seriously. Watching the speaker also lets you read thje speaker’s body language, which may say a lot about how she feels.
  • Use natural posture. Be relaxed. Slouching, resting your head on your hands or crossing your arms on your chest can signal boredom, fatigue, or restlessness.
  • Sit in a helping position. If you sit across from a person with a table in between, you may put yourself in an “oppositional” stance. Sit at an angle and lean slightly towards (but don’t crowd out!) your youth.

Adapted from the Work Group for Community Health and Development Community Tool Box, 2013. “Building Youth Mentor Relationships.” Available at http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/implement/youth-mentoring/build-mentor-relationships/main 

Youth Opportunities Act

The Youth Opportunities Act (HB 1651) is sitting in the House Rules Committee. We are hoping it will move to the House Floor today, and be ready for a vote in the next few days. It is very important that we get as many representatives to vote for it as possible. Overwhelming support shows that it is a priority that the Senate must take seriously. Bills that do not get voted out of the House by Tuesday are dead.

 

So, please take a moment today to contact Representatives and urge a yes vote when HB 1651 reaches the floor. House Republicans are especially critical for this vote, so we would suggest you focus your efforts on them if your time is limited. PLEASE NOTE: We have attached a letter from the a national conservative policy organization, Right on Crime, which explains why the YOA is good fiscal and public safety policy. Please feel free to quote from it or use it however you feel useful.

 

The list of House members are here: https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx?Chamber=H. You can send them emails directly from this page.

 

In addition, please see this article in the Seattle Medium by Ed Prince, the Executive Director of the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, about the YOA: http://seattlemedium.com/the-youth-opportunities-act/.  And again, please feel free to refer to this excellent Crosscut series on the YOA: http://crosscut.com/2014/01/27/rights-ethics/118384/washingtons-never-ending-punishment-of-juveniles/