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Director's Bulletin - November 2007
Message from OYA Director Robert Jester
OYA Director Bob Jester
OYA Director Robert Jester
The Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) has committed to provid­ing evidence-based reformation services to youth in our care and custody.  That simple statement be­lies the complexity of our efforts to continuously improve our services, and I want to talk about the status of our efforts.

First, some background.  The 2003 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 267, which requires programs aimed at reducing recidivism to be based on research and be cost-effective.  OYA supported that legislation – it was and is consis­tent with our goals to use effective services to reduce recidivism and to use public resources wisely.

Implementing SB 267 has required changes throughout the OYA sys­tem.  It begins with committing to using a research-based risk/needs assessment (RNA) on all youth committed to OYA, continues with developing a case plan that addresses the factors that influ­ence recidivism, requires using evidence-based treatment services and curricula to reduce those risks, reviews how we implement those services, and uses input from a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) process to assure consensus that youth are accessing and completing appropriate services.

We are now in the process of con­ducting a mid-course self-assess­ment of our efforts, led by Mary McBride in the Program Office, to identify our strengths and where we need to focus our improve­ment efforts.  We have made great strides, but cannot yet say we are performing to our potential.

The review process will include:
  • Surveying facility treatment managers to help establish whether approved treatment curricula are being applied as designed.
  • Surveying field staff on case management and MDT ac­tivities, and identifying actual or perceived gaps in our processes.
  • Reviewing the ongoing treatment needs of long-term of­fenders, particularly those with fixed sentences.
  • Developing recommenda­tions and an action plan to ensure consistent links with the RNA, case plan, and MDT processes.  It might include new and/or refresher train­ing for staff, or changes to agency processes or curricula.
We have made some tremendous changes in OYA.  Our primary performance measure – reducing recidivism of OYA youth offend­ers – is showing the results of our efforts.  And we have made signifi­cant changes in our agency culture – by relying more on data to guide our efforts, by breaking down the barriers between the different parts of the agency, and by recognizing that treatment and security rely on each other to protect staff, protect youth, and achieve our agency mis­sion.
I hope you will participate fully in this review process and in the changes yet to come.

Oak Creek Update
Reopening Project
Work continues on the reopening of the Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility this winter. Significant renovation and remodel efforts are underway to create an environment designed specifically for serving young women. Workgroups, along with a steering committee, meet on a regular basis to guide the planning, preparation, and implementation of the facility’s opening.  Below are some highlights from the last two weeks.

Remodel Update

In addition to the work on the courtyard, the project will make a number of improvements to the living units as well. Adding color highlights to the floor, repainting, new furnishings, and increasing the sense of privacy in the restrooms should give the units a very different feel. The Vocational Rehabilitation area will also receive new flooring and paint. The Library will have a suspended ceiling, new paint, increased acoustical separation, and new flooring.

Bidders are starting to express interest in the project and request plans and specifications. One or more contractors may bid on both portions of the project. A pre-bid conference took place on Monday, October 22 and, if all goes smoothly, bids will be opened on October 30. After the bids are reviewed, contracts can be awarded and the work can commence.

Facility Update

We would like to focus this edition on the recruitment and hiring efforts that are currently taking place. The following recruitments have been open for Oak Creek:

  • Superintendent/PEMF
  • Program Director/PEMD
  • Treatment Managers/PEMB
  • Security Manager/PEMA
  • Executive Support Specialist 1
  • Facility Operations Specialist 1
  • Supervising Cook

Open continuously for all OYA but advertised specifically for Oak Creek:

  • Youth Corrections Unit Coordinator
  • GLC 2
  • Cook 2
  • QMHP
  • RN
All these positions have been posted on the Employment Department’s job database, to the State’s jobs page, to OYA’s job announcement folder on Outlook; and given to Lily Caceres (Office of Minority Services) for distribution.
In addition they have all been advertised in the following newspapers (in a display ad):
  • Oregonian
  • Statesman
  • Skanner
  • Asian Reporter
  • El Hispanic News
  • Albany/Corvallis – Combined paper for the Democrat Herald on Sundays
Additional recruitment efforts were done as follows:
  • Superintendent:  Governor’s Affirmative Action Office - for distribution; Eugene Register Guard; Monster Board; County Juvenile Directors; CJCA (Counsel of Juvenile Correctional Administrators) for distribution and posting to their website; Pam Patton for distribution; and Janet at Oregon Alliance for distribution.
  • Program Director, Treatment Managers and Security Manager:  Governor’s Affirmative Action Office - for distribution
  • Facility Operations Specialist 1:  Monster Board; Tradeswomen.com; Polk Observer newspaper (Independence, Molalla, Woodburn); Silverton newspaper; Governor’s Affirmative Action Office - for distribution

Recruitment Job Fair

A Job Fair will be held on November 5, 2007, at the Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility. We are reaching out to attract potential applicants by providing an opportunity for them to learn and ask questions about employment and volunteer opportunities. There are approximately 68 OYA positions to fill, the majority of positions being Group Life Coordinators. Linn, Benton and Lincoln Education Services District, who is also hiring, will join us in this effort. We are hoping to attract a diverse workforce of professionals who have experience and or interest in working in an all-female youth correctional facility. Currently, approximately 46% of the young women in our youth correctional system are minorities.

Advertisements will be in local papers including the Oregonian, Statesman Journal, Register Guard, Albany paper and combined Albany/Corvallis paper.  A Job Fair Flyer has been sent to the WorkSource Oregon/Employment office.  The announcement also went specifically to each of OYA’s ethnic advisory committees, to the Governor’s Summit Planning Committee and was distributed to the members of the North East Rescue Plan Action Committee (NERPAC).  Distribution through email will also be utilized to inform various partners of the Job Fair.

Questions? Contact Shirlee.Pierce@oya.state.or.us

GLC Assessment

Early in October, a Group Life Coordinator Assessment Center was held at MacLaren YCF. This pilot project for ranking GLCs in the Woodburn, Salem, and Albany facilities is the result of a decision to "centralize" the ranking process. Applicants demonstrate their ability to perform some of the common GLC tasks in a convenient, timely fashion. The results are used to refer the top candidates to facilities for final selection decisions.

A workgroup of OYA managers and supervisors met from May through October ‘07 to develop the concept into a working test. In the first Assessment Center, 37 participants began with a packet of information about becoming an OYA Group Life Coordinator, and a virtual tour of the facilities. Groups of 12 or less applicants then rotated through MacLaren to participate in physical abilities testing, hearing and vision checks, computer exercises, job interviews, and Impact testing (a video-based, multiple-choice test of a person’s common sense).

The Assessment Center provides consistent information to hiring supervisors and reduces some time-consuming details. It also provides applicants the opportunity to complete in one day a process which typically takes up to three trips.

Hillcrest Work Experience

The Hillcrest YCF Work Experience crew, headed by grounds-keeper John Weaver and consisting of four Hillcrest youth, took on the restoration of a 1955 Ford 600 Tractor. The tractor came from Fairview Training Center last fall and is used at Hillcrest for a variety of tasks. The restoration took 52 days of hard work to complete.

The Work Experience program focuses on teaching youth vocational skills through real maintenance work on campus. The youth can use the skills and confidence gained to find good jobs after they are released.

TYCF Family Day
Family Day at the Tillamook Youth Correctional Facility was September 29. The youth began preparing for Family Day about 3 months in advance by picking a day and theme. This year’s theme was Summer Success with a tropical flair. TYCF youth worked hard to make the decorations, artwork, and poems come together. They also scrubbed the facility from top to bottom and made it shine.
Family Day was a huge success, with 45 youth having family visitors. The cooks outdid themselves with wonderful pizza, jalapeno poppers, corn dogs, french fries and salad. A youth’s family even donated teriyaki chicken, rice and a great pasta salad from their restaurant.
Each Family Day, awards are given out to the youth, including most improved behavior, and school achievement. Everyone really enjoys this time of recognition. There are many activities for all to participate in, as well as time to just sit and visit with each other. All were thankful for such a wonderful day!

From the Program Office
Final Safety and Services Survey
Family and youth surveys have become an important part of the OYA’s overall program of quality assurance and improvement. Youth surveys are used on a regular basis in both community (residential and foster care) and close custody settings to identify opportunities for improvement in a variety of performance areas, from safety to service provision.
After a youth’s commitment to the OYA is terminated, the agency also surveys families and youth concerning their experience in the areas of service and safety. These anonymous "Final Surveys" are mailed from Central Support 30 days after case closure.
Final surveys address two primary areas – youth safety and services – from the perspectives of the clients themselves and from their parents. The safety portion consist of 28 questions, covering such issues as denied contact between youth and family, fear of safety, and knowledge of how to file complaints. The service portion is comprised of 15 questions, dealing with issues like staff helpfulness, cultural sensitivity, and respect.
The last 6 questions of the youth and family service surveys are required by the Oregon Progress Board to be asked by all state agencies.  These questions deal specifically with service timeliness, ability to provide services correctly the first time, employee helpfulness, employee knowledge, availability of information, and quality of service.
The rate of return on the mailed final safety and service surveys has been approximately 7% since the process was instituted in November 2006.
The results, part of which are reported to the Oregon Progress Board as customer satisfaction ratings, follow.
Below is a sample of some of the questions asked on the final safety surveyand the responses of both family and youth:
Were you ever denied contact with your child? (family survey)
Do you have any specific concerns about the way any staff treated you while you were at OYA?  (youth survey)
Were you ever fearful for your safety? (youth survey)
Were you ever fearful for your child’s safety? (family survey)
Did you know who to talk to, or how to file a complaint if you were concerned about a staff person’s behavior?  (family survey)
Did you know who to talk to or how to file a complaint if you were concerned about a staff person’s behavior? (youth survey
Below is a sample of some of the questions asked on the final service surveyand the responses of both parents and youth:
  • My child was provided services by OYA that helped my child to prepare for living in the community (family survey):
Strongly agree – 20%; Agree – 51%; Disagree – 15%
Strongly Disagree – 7%;  Don’t know – 8%
  • I was provided services by OYA that helped me to prepare for living in the community (youth survey):
Strongly agree – 45%; Agree – 39%
Disagree – 9%; Strongly Disagree – 6%
  • I received the treatment I needed, such as drug and alcohol, anger management, sex offender, etc. (youth survey)
Strongly agree – 52%; Agree – 36%
Disagree – 6%; Strongly Disagree – 6%
  • How would you rate the timeliness of the services provided by the OYA? (youth survey – required Oregon Progress Board question)
Excellent – 19%; Good – 32%
Fair – 26%; Poor – 23%
  • How would you rate the helpfulness of OYA employees? (family survey – required Oregon Progress Board question)
Excellent – 34%; Good – 39%
Fair – 18%; Poor – 8%
Anonymous final service surveys provide the agency with valuable feedback on how it is performing its mission of rehabilitating young offenders while providing public safety.  They provide the agency with insight concerning areas for programmatic improvement as viewed by its customers.
The agency has taken a number of steps to impact family and youth safety perceptions.  For example, the agency has implemented a process of distributing a Youth Safety Guide, which helps provide information to youth at intake about who to contact if there is a fear of safety.  The agency has also provided youth, staff, and families with a toll-free number to call with complaints or concerns.  Family Involvement Guides have been developed to answer questions family members might have in a variety of areas.  Agency policy has even been clarified with respect to family involvement and family contact.

New Medical Director

The Program Office is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Marcia Adams to the position of OYA Medical Director. Dr. Adams, whose first day on the job with OYA was Wednesday, October 24, comes to us as a Board-certified family practice physician with years of experience in direct patient care, and a background in both public health and private practice.

In addition to direct patient care, Dr. Adams has had experience in providing supervision and oversight to other physicians and health care practitioners. She was most recently medical director of Lincoln County’s public health center and previously medical director of Tillamook County’s public health center. Dr. Adams came to Oregon from East Coast, where she obtained her degree in medicine at the State University of New York, Health Sciences Center in Brooklyn.

Dr. Adams’ role with the OYA is to provide clinical and administrative leadership in all aspects of the agency’s health care delivery system. Her primary office is at the Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility, where she offers direct patient care. When Oak Creek opens in mid-winter, she will also provide direct patient care and oversight to youth placed there. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Adams to the OYA team!

Firesetters Conference
OYA Sets the National Standard for Firesetter Curriculum

On September 17 and 18, the national firesetter conference, Cultivating Partnerships II: In Juvenile Firesetter Intervention, was held in Portland. The OYA was asked to present a workshop, in partnership with Dr. David Wilcox, on treatment programs for delinquent firesetter youth. Dr. Wilcox presented the Massachusetts treatment approach for youth in residential facilities and has served as one of the consultants for the development of the OYA curriculum.

The OYA has developed firesetter screening, assessment, treatment and supervision curriculum for youth in close custody facilities which is unique in comparison to the rest of the nation. The presentation was well-received, with the OYA curriculum being noted for its approach to treatment, overlaying cultural, historical, and spiritual connections to the role of fire in society. The OYA firesetter treatment curriculum is currently being offered at Rogue Valley, MacLaren, North Coast, and Hillcrest YCFs. Rogue Valley has "graduated" three groups since beginning in May 2006 – great work!

For more information on the conference, or the Firesetters curriculum, contact Mary McBride.

Surplus Property Program

The DAS Surplus Property Program relies on DAS employees and state agency partners to help get the word out to Oregonians regarding the sale of state and federal surplus through Oregon’s General Store in Salem.

The General Store is open to the public every day from 1 to 4 p.m. This week, the store will open on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Due to the renovation of the Capitol, the General Store has a large inventory of office furniture including 1970s retro, chairs, filing cabinets, computer tables and a wide variety of desks. Visitors will also find bicycles (including mountain bikes), power equipment, vehicles, objects confiscated at airports (knives, tools, scissors, etc.) and many other items.

The General Store accepts cash, Visa, MasterCard, money orders and cashier’s checks.  Personal or business checks are not accepted. The store is located at the Surplus Property Distribution Center, 1655 Industrial Drive NE in Salem.

Operation Hero Miles
One small way each of us may be able to help troops protecting our nation is to donate your unused frequent flyer miles to military personnel and their families. You can do this by contacting Operation Hero Miles at www.heromiles.org.
The website explains how your donation is currently being accepted by ten of the nation’s major airlines. You can also call 1-888-294-8560 toll-free for information.

Survey Says . . .

Don Tomfohr, PPO at Clackamas, suggested a Safety Corner in the Bulletin which previewed in the October edition. We have built upon this idea for November and here you will find Don and his Safety Corner as a regular feature. Great job, Don, and thanks!

Bob Warsaw, OYA Supervisor from the Deschutes Parole and Probation Office, writes that he likes the ease of reading the Bulletin and gives a thumbs up to format and layout. (Thanks, Bob, we’ve worked hard to get here!)

Other Survey Results

In response to "What articles are the most interesting?":

  • Director’s Corner
  • Did you know . . .
  • "The ones that relate directly to the youth programs and progress, such as Project Pooch/PAWS and planning/modifications related to Oak Creek."

Additional Comments:

  • "I also like hearing about staff recognition/awards, as it seems that it’s easy to forget all the hard work and positive things that individuals do for the youth of OYA, as well as the community."
  • "How about some more news about the youth. I would enjoy more success stories, like Camp Florence, or special programs with outstanding youth."

Safety Corner
OYA Helps With Salem Emergency Exercise
On September 21, 2007, the Salem Airport conducted a full scale exercise that involved the collision of two aircraft upon landing, with a total of 57 victims between the two planes.
OYA assisted in the exercise and was represented by Lori Widder, Mike Conzoner, Brian VorderLandwehr and Doug Dryden, who were all assigned the responsibility of monitoring the victims during exercise. In addition, Jim Ciaramitaro video taped the entire exercise. The City of Salem and participating partners expressed their appreciation to the OYA for supporting and participating in this exercise.

Vehicle Safety
As the days get shorter, the benefit of light to observe our surroundings becomes less as the days get shorter.  Soon we will all be heading to and from our vehicles more often during the hours of darkness.  Here are some safety tips and reminders to help prepare you to keep yourself safe while you are heading to and from your vehicle. 
  • Park in well-lit, heavily populated areas as much as possible.
  • Make sure windows are up and doors are locked before leaving your vehicle.
  • Avoid keeping valuable items in vehicle or keep them from being visible.
  • During work hours, if possible, move your vehicle closer before it gets dark. 
  • Be observant to vehicles that may be occupied when you park or return to your vehicle.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and observant to anyone hanging around.
  • If someone looks suspicious or there is a group of people hanging around, leave immediately.    
  • Whenever possible, walk with others.
  • For work or otherwise, check into local security that may provide an escort to your vehicle.
  • Attach a mini flash light to your keys or carry a flash light.
  • Have your vehicle keys in your hand and have your house keys on a separate ring. 
  • Have a cell phone accessible so you don’t have to dig for it.
  • Carry as little as possible to keep your hands free.
  • Scan your vehicle inside and out as you approach and before you get in.
  • Keep a copy of your vehicle registration in your wallet; it helps if someone steals your vehicle.
  • Avoid leaving identification in your vehicle.
  • If your vehicle is broken into, make sure your garage door opener (if you have one) and registration is not missing.  If so, immediately alert the police and family members.  You may need to de-activate your garage door – especially if there is a door into your home from the garage. 

Who's Who in OYA?
A Day in the Life . . .

Paula Fontanini
recently made a suggestion for the OYA Bulletin: "There appears to be many divisions between the various job positions held within OYA, and I think it would be nice to focus a little bit on what each department is responsible for, and how it benefits the agency as a whole: "A Day in the Life" section. Anyone and everyone. You see a position title and wonder what in the world does that person does - It would be great to find out."
Well, Paula, we like it! And, this month, you’re it!!

Paula has been with OYA Central Support since April 1998. She works in the JJIS Reports Team as an Information Systems Specialist 6 – Computer Programmer/Analyst, writing reports for OYA and JJIS partners. Paula knows several computer languages, and her special focus is writing and maintaining many of the electronic interfaces (i.e. data exchanges) to other agencies. Some of her work includes Child Support referrals, MMIS Medical Cards, Payless drug information, youth trust account money transfers from the Department of Treasury, SFMA accounting transactions and PPDB personnel information.

In her spare time, Paula has quite eclectic interests. She is a great artist and has contributed to several community projects, including the Eco Earth Ball at Riverfront Park in Salem. Paula makes beautiful jewelry and pottery in her shop at home. She also exercises regularly and ran a half marathon in Canada last month.

Thanks for the great column, Paula!

Do you have an idea for next month’s feature? E-mail  Amanda.Lowe@oya.state.or.us

Make a Note
2008 Holiday Calendar
  • New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day,  Monday, January 21
  • Presidents' Day, Monday, February 18
  • Memorial Day, Monday, May 26
  • Independence Day, Friday, July 4
  • Labor Day, Monday, September 1
  • Veterans' Day, Tuesday, November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27
  • Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25
Questions concerning the specific application of holiday pay may be directed to one of the HR Consultants at 503-378-8344.

Daylight Savings Time Reminder

On November 4 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the U.S.. This year, Daylight Saving Time was four weeks longer with the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act, which extended Daylight Saving Time to run from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, is expected to save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours.


And . . .
November Bulletin
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