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Director's Bulletin - October 2007
From Director Bob Jester
OYA Director Bob Jester
In August, I used this message to discuss the allegations of misconduct at the RiverBend facility, and how the actions of an individual can tarnish the good work that other OYA staff do.  This month I wanted to provide you with a status report on our response to those concerns.
 
The criminal investigation into the allegations remains in progress.  It would not be appropriate for me to provide additional information until a formal action is taken by Union County law enforcement agencies.  I again want to emphasize that none of the allegations involve youth safety issues.
 
Shortly after the allegations arose, I commissioned a review of operational issues at RiverBend to provide a comprehensive look at problems or deficiencies related to the allegations.  The staff team conducting that review has recommended 26 changes in policies and procedures, many of which affect OYA as a whole.  The report has been posted on the OYA website.  The recommendations primarily would strengthen agency controls and review of purchasing and use of public resources, including how we track overtime use, and use of state vehicles and cell phones.  They also call for clear policies around youth work programs.  Next week I will be appointing staff work teams to implement these recommendations on an expedited basis.
 
Four RiverBend staff were placed on administrative leave during the review.  Of those, two managers have resigned and two other staff have been dismissed from state service.  I regret that OYA had to take these actions, but felt they were necessary to ensure that OYA lives up to its Principles of Conduct.
 
Looking ahead, we have posted the Superintendent position at RiverBend with the expectation that a new leadership team will be in place there before the holidays.  I would like again to publicly thank Mike Riggan, OYA's policy and rules coordinator, for serving as acting Superintendent over the last two months.  I also extend my thanks to YCUC Brian Blisard and QMHP Gary Lillard, who have assumed leadership roles at the facility, and all of the staff at RiverBend who have kept their focus on serving the public and youth offenders during this time of transition.  This has been a difficult time for RiverBend, and I appreciate the ongoing focus by staff there on serving the public and youth offenders.
 
Next month, I will discuss partnerships in juvenile justice, and how OYA is working with its partners and stakeholders to fulfill its mission.
 
 

From Facilities Operations
Camp Florence Profile
It is a typical morning at the Camp Florence Work Study transition program; the pace is frenetic and borderline chaotic. This is the common product of over twenty youth tidying up their bunks, getting breakfast down, and doing the campus chores in preparation for a hard day's work in the Florence community.
 
This is a day that not all of the youth are necessarily looking forward to. It is a day committed to performing volunteer work, instead of getting paid the usual $7.50 an hour that they are accustomed to. Many of the youth, however, don’t look at it as drudgery. They like the idea of doing something for a good cause (though the free pizza may influence their charitable spirit a bit).  One crew will be clearing brush and performing landscape maintenance for the Boys & Girls Club, while the other will be loading, hauling and unloading 400 boxes of books for the public library.  All told, twelve youth and two staff will be donating a total of 84 hours of labor to assist the city of Florence in providing vital services to its citizens.
 
As the day develops, all of the youth get energized. At the Boys & Girls Club they are working hard cutting and hauling brush, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.  Meanwhile, the crew over at the library is stacking books to put on display for the annual book sale at the Florence Event Center. The employees at the Club are giving a hand where they can and being very friendly, communicating their appreciation to the boys individually. The folks at the library are a little more matter of fact and are keeping their professional distance.
 
Finally it is time for lunch and the true motivator arrives in the form of round cheesy-meat-laden-discs of goodness. The mood at both venues is now relaxed, and the flow of good-natured ribbing and chit-chat is positive and steady.  As the youth head back to work they gain momentum by having a connection with the people they are assisting, and are beginning to understand why they are doing what they are doing!

 
Their increased commitment is not because the Camp requires it, or because they will be looked down upon if they don’t work hard.  It is because they have started to feel what it is like to join together in a common purpose to do something good for the community in which they live.  Camp does offer all of the evidence-based treatment, and is focused on KPM’s and benchmarks, but the staff prides itself on giving youth actual real life experiences.  The only benchmarks from these experiences are the obvious growth that occurs through the crucial relationships built and what it feels like to do the right thing.



OYA Facilities Implement New Youth Incident Report
On September 5, MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility began using a new Youth Incident Report (YIR) in JJIS to document all youth incidents.  Hillcrest and Rogue Valley YCFs piloted the original YIR in JJIS and have been using it since May.  North Coast YCF converted to the YIR in August.  All other OYA facilities expect to implement the new YIR by the end of October.  A field version of the YIR for youth supervised by OYA in community placements and at home will be ready for a pilot with the next release of JJIS in October.
 
At MacLaren, the YIR replaces the paper version of the Special Incident Report (SIR) that was required to be completed for youth involved in incidents.  Following a week and a half of training all MacLaren staff, JJIS trainers have been on site to monitor the new process and provide additional technical assistance and training as needed.  Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, the implementation has been very successful with a minimum number of issues needing correction in the follow up.
 
In addition to the automation provided by JJIS, the new incident report has problem and resolution codes and definitions that more closely align with Performance-based Standards and our Key Performance Measures.  This is a key step toward automating both of these reporting requirements.  Another advantage of the incident report being in JJIS is that all workers with assigned security may view the Incident Report from either the Youth Menu or the Unit Roster.
 
The implementation of the YIR signifies a final step in a development process that began a couple of years ago with work groups representing both field and facilities.  JJIS staff analyzed that work and developed software to capture the YIR in JJIS.  After the original pilot several changes were made to the software before it was rolled out to the rest of the facilities. 
 
The success of this project is a credit to the many people that were involved along the way.  Special thanks are due to Hillcrest and Rogue Valley staff for their willingness to pilot the software and to JJIS trainers who were responsible for the implementation of this significant business change that affected many people directly and immediately.

Oak Creek Reopening Update
As presented in previous editions of the OYA Bulletin, preparations are under way to reopen Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility this winter as a gender-specific facility for young women.  A significant renovation and remodel effort is underway to create an environment specifically designed to serve young women.  Workgroups and a steering committee meet on a regular basis to guide the process of planning, preparation, and implementation for the facility’s opening.  Regular communications are provided to inform staff and partners of the most recent developments and progress.
Oak Creek Modifications Moving Forward
The two Oak Creek design teams are working to put their respective projects out to bid.  One of the major changes planned for the facility is re-doing and enhancing the interior courtyard.  Currently, the courtyard is little more than a large open grass area.  The design, developed by the team led by Otto Poticha, includes a number of new elements.  The open area will be crisscrossed by paved walkways that lead to the living unit entries.  The center of these paths will continue to have an open grass area, but it will slope up approximately 15 inches, and have several deciduous trees and tables with seating around the perimeter.  A portion of the second basketball court will be removed, and more grass added.  Other locations will be enhanced by the addition of evergreen trees.  Adjacent to the security control center will be an improved visitation and conversation area with outdoor tables, concrete bench seating, and a curved water feature. 
Also under way are the aspects of the remodel project focused on sight and sound separation between the Linn County detention program and the OYA program.  Renovation and improvements in the facility living units are also in the early stages.
 
These changes will significantly alter the character of the facility and augment the programs offered to young women.
 
Oak Creek Superintendent Update
The Oak Creek Superintendent first-round interviews concluded Tuesday, September 25. A pool of eighteen candidates interviewed for the position, including a number from out-of-state.  The seven-member interview panel was very impressed with the caliber of candidates and the strengths each would bring to this position.  Finalists will have an opportunity to meet and interact with the young women at Hillcrest, tour Oak Creek, and interview with the Director’s Office.  A selection is anticipated to be made and announced in mid-October.
 
Name the Living Units
There is still time to participate in naming the three Oak Creek living units.  A number of suggestions have already been received.  So, what are your ideas????  Submit them to Shirlee.Pierce@oya.state.or.us by October 8.  The Steering Committee will review suggestions on October 9 and forward recommendations to the Director’s Office. 
 
Employee Tours
Twelve employees participated in Oak Creek tours, led by Mike Conzoner. Current OYA employees potentially interested in working at Oak Creek were given the opportunity to tour the facility on September 17 and 20.  Employees appreciated the opportunity to see the facility.  Many commented that it was larger and the units were more accommodating than expected.   
 
Involving the Young Women
Superintendent Chris Duval and Hillcrest Administration met with each of the Hillcrest young women’s units and staff on September 26.  They showed the young women a large model display of the facility that was created back when the regional facilities were constructed.  They discussed how the building and grounds would be remodeled using visual diagrams.  Previous OYA Bulletin articles and an overview of the various workgroups were reviewed.  They also showed the young women a sample of the tempered, glazed glass with leaf print that will be used to create some privacy in the bathrooms between showers, bathtub and toilet areas.  The overall response from the young women was very positive.  A great deal of information was shared and the young women asked many questions.  Superintendent Duval asked for their thoughts and ideas on naming the living units, vocational interests, menu planning, recreation interests and a number of other areas.  Their ideas will be collected in the coming weeks and will be shared throughout workgroups and planning efforts.

From Field Operations
JJPO and Office Support Staff Help Simplify JJIS
Earlier this year, JJIS staff met with over 90 of OYA’s Juvenile Parole/Probation Offices at their statewide meeting to brainstorm and prioritize recommendations that simplify workflow and data entry for the majority of JJIS users in the field offices.
 
The main purpose of this meeting was to identify ideas that could be immediately addressed in the upcoming release of JJIS, as well as create a list of recommendations to incorporate into subsequent releases.  A follow-up meeting was held with a smaller representative group of OYA field staff to further refine and prioritize the suggestions from the statewide meeting.  Marion Knight, Jim Hupp, and Deanna Garcia from Marion OYA; Harry Bradshaw, and Troy Lovdahl from Multnomah OYA; Don Tomfohr from Clackamas OYA; LuAnn Dallison from Yamhill OYA; and Heidi Meier from Umatilla OYA all participated in the follow-up session. Several of the attendees mentioned above also joined JJIS staff during the developmental phase to help test and refine the new features that will be in the up-coming release of JJIS.
 
From these meetings, the highest priorities determined for immediate action were:
  • Support for knowing what caseload tasks are due (for example, reviewing case-plan long-term goals or verifying school/work history); and
  • Automation of routine processes, such as creating and closing case plans.
 
Many recommendations from these meetings are addressed in the fall release of JJIS scheduled for October 19.  Other suggestions will be addressed in future releases.  Hopefully, many of these changes and implementations will benefit the majority of JJIS users.
 

From the Program Office
New Family Guides on the Web!!
The purpose of the Family Guides is to provide orientation to parents/guardians when youth are placed in OYA custody.  The guides are designed to provide opportunity to note questions as parents read through them so they may seek clarification from their youth’s JPPO (for juvenile commits) or Treatment Manager (for DOC offenders) during their initial meetings.
 
The “OYA Youth” version will be sent to parents from the appropriate field offices.  The “DOC Youth” version will be sent from Hillcrest to parents of DOC offenders.
 
For more information on the Family Guide, email Michael.Riggan@oya.state.or.us.

Training Academy CDs and DVDs -- What's the Diff??
They look the same, and sometimes we get them mixed up. So, what’s the deal with how we play and use CDs and DVDs at OYA? The Academy’s been sending out quite a few CDs and DVDs lately so it’s time we gave you some well-deserved clarification.
 
Playing CDs and DVDs at OYA:
The information on CDs and DVDs is arranged differently. This means that CDs and DVDs each need a different “reader” so they can play.
  • Each of you has a CD “reader” (CD drive) on your OYA computer or laptop and that means CDs will play on them.
  • With very few exceptions, OYA employees don’t have DVD “readers” (DVD drives) on their computers – so DVDs won’t play on OYA computers or laptops.  To play DVDs at OYA, you will most likely need to use a standalone DVD player (like the one you may have at home).

 
How the Academy uses CDs and DVDs:
Depending on the type of DVD involved, both CDs and DVDs may contain the same types of information - but a DVD can hold at least 7 times more information than a CD.  Here’s a breakdown on how we use each:

  • CDs give you an interactive learning experience*, which requires the use of a computer mouse or laptop touchpad. Because you have one of these, in addition to a CD drive, on your computer or laptop, CDs fit the bill.  So, we confess… it’s all about the mouse!  Without your computer mouse you couldn’t experience the interactive CD stuff!

    *Interactivity includes using your mouse to answer questions, click on-screen buttons and move items around the screen.
  • DVDs have much more space (as noted above), so they are primarily used for long videos. 
 
Note: If you mistakenly put one of our interactive CDs into a standalone DVD player, you may see a partial menu, but you won’t see everything.  Sorry!  Our interactive CDs just don’t work with standalone DVD players!
 
 
Is it a CD or DVD?
Good news! In the future we’ll be marking our CDs and DVDs (and their cases) clearly with appropriate logos.

From Business Services
PEBB Employee Health Survey Coming This Fall
Phone survey responses will help PEBB meet members' needs
With support from the Department of Human Services’ Healthy Worksites program, PEBB is sponsoring a telephone survey of members to get information on employee health and wellness. Beginning in mid-September and lasting through November 2007, the survey will involve about 1,500 agency and 500 university employees. Participants may schedule the 15-minute survey at their convenience.
PEBB encourages agencies to allow employees to participate during work time, as the findings help develop and track PEBB programs.  
 
The topics of the phone interview include:
  • Health risks
  • The effects of a chronic condition on daily activities
  • Awareness of PEBB’s wellness program
  • Agency or campus worksite health and wellness activities
  • Experience with the healthcare system
 
Employee responses will remain completely confidential. An independent survey firm will conduct the survey. By terms of its contract, the firm will use members’ phone numbers for this survey only, and will securely dispose of all individuals’ information when the survey is complete. The firm will report results to DHS and PEBB only in the aggregate. No person is identifiable through any reported information.

The survey results will help the Board create or modify wellness programs and other activities to meet members’ needs.
 
If you are called upon, please work with these individuals to improve our health coverage needs.


State Employees' Charitable Fund Drive
September marks the annual Charitable Fund Drive (CFD) for state employees.  Over 800 nonprofit organizations will participate in this campaign.  Each provides valuable resources and services that benefit not only us, but also our families, friends, and neighbors.  Ask yourself “What do I care about?” and you’ll find an organization in the CFD to match your values.
 
Last year, the Oregon Youth Authority staff contributed a combined total of over $9,000.  Our generosity reached across the state to help many in need.  Let’s again rise to the occasion and, through automatic payroll deduction or donation, make a difference in Oregon. 
 
Find more info on the Employees Charitable Fund Drive webpage.
 

October is Open Enrollment
  • PEBB Open Enrollment begins October 1
  • 2008 medical plans offer enhanced benefits
  • Save money on taxes through a flexible spending account
  • 2008 benefits information is all online
 
Read all about the survey, open enrollment, and more.
 
Want to contact your Benefit Board? E-mail them at pebb.connect@state.or.us
 

Safety Corner
October is Fire Safety Month  
Did you know that more people die in fires than in hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and all other natural disasters combined?  Or that every year, children start nearly 100,000 fires?  October is fire safety month, but the planning and practice that comes with fire safety should be in place year-round.  Here are some great tips to make sure your home is “fire safe”:
 
  • The Fire Department recommends installing smoke detectors in all hallways and bedrooms in your home.
  • Have an escape plan  that includes:
    • Two different ways out of the home.
    • Assigning a person (or two) to assist those who need help getting out. 
    • Designate someone to call 911. 
    • A meeting place once everyone is outside.
 
Inclement Weather?  Check out TripCheck!
Sponsored by the Oregon Department of Transportation, a link to TripCheck is available on the OYA website's Employee Info page.  With this link, you can view current images of road conditions with road-cams on Oregon’s major highways, as well as updated reports.

Info Systems Reminder!
JJIS 2007.03 is scheduled for Friday, October 19

More information with complete Release Notes and new User Guides describing the changes will be issued prior to the release.
 

From Minority Services
OYA STAFF – WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The Governor’s YOUTH Award was established to honor Oregon youth who take positive risks, become successful in their lives, and contribute to the success of others.  It will be given to youth (up to age 25) who have shown consistent progress in dealing with, and overcoming, adversity.
 
The award(s) will be presented at the Governor’s Minority Over-representation in the Juvenile Justice System Summit on November 29 in Portland.  The Office of Minority Services is asking OYA staff to assist in the nomination process.  Youth nominations will be accepted from anyone who has had contact with a youth in an educational, employment, judicial, or social capacity.
 
The deadline for nominations is October 19  at 5:00 p.m.
 
For more information on the Governor's Summit, the Award, and nomination forms, go to the 2007 Governor's Summit Summit website and visit YOUTH Awards nominations.

Did you know . . . ?
Shawna Hill from OYA Business Services spoke at the White House last week in support of our troops.  Here’s the experience in her own words:
“This past month, I was asked to go to Washington, D.C., as a Gold Star representative (a Gold Star member is someone who has had a family member killed in action). I received a special invitation to attend breakfast at the White House and speak with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to advocate for continued funding for our troops. I had the opportunity to meet with military personnel, Senators, Representatives, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Cheney, and the President and First Lady to tell the story of a young man from Keizer, Oregon, who became an American hero. My son, PFC Ryan Hill, was Killed in Action (KIA) this past January while serving in Adhmiyah, helping to protect and serve the local citizens in one of the most dangerous sectors in Baghdad. My son's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Services Ribbon, Drivers Badge, Expert Marksman Award, and Combat Infantryman Badge.”

We Want to Hear From You!
We’ve reached our fifth issue, and we want your input!  What changes do you like? 
 

Formatted PDF Version
View or print a formatted version of the October 2007 Bulletin.
 
You will need the Acrobat Reader to open the file.