DPS Dispatch

Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever wondered whether you had the skills/education to find a job? Have you ever simply felt alone in a strange town without a safety net of family or friends? Consider shouldering all three of those scenarios simultaneously. A young person transitioning out of the juvenile justice system may feel the weight of all these pressures (along with the additional stigma that may accompany having been held in secure custody).

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When the age of juvenile jurisdiction increases (also known as Raise the Age) on Dec. 1, 2019, there will be new faces aplenty. Included among those are obviously the faces of the older youths that Juvenile Justice will now be serving, but they won’t be the first faces to show up. With Raise the Age comes the growing need to serve more kids, so we need new staff faces! William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, believes “opportunities for people to find a career in this field are continuing to emerge, so now is the time to bring your skills to our mission.”

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(CONCORD) Games are found throughout our daily lives. Some games are played simply for amusement and fun, while others are often played to pass on skills and lessons to the next generation. Games are also used to teach us about ourselves. Such is the case for Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center staff psychologist, Jerica McIntyre, who incorporated the creation and use of a board game into psychotherapy for one of the juveniles in her care.

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 ‘Tis the season for love, fellowship and coming together. It’s the time we tally our blessings and hope for more in the future. I write with a bit of reflection, a forecast and, as we live together in communities across the state, a call to mission – to find harmony with our neighbors and lift up those who may have been saddled with misfortune during this year of 2018.

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Storm Response Series: While North Carolina braced for Hurricane Florence, numerous NC Public Safety agencies joined in the storm preparations, response and recovery. Today's blog provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the efforts of the juvenile justice employees.  

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Last month, 25 male students from Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center spent a day at Frank Liske Park in Concord training with Carolina Panthers players and staff, including Mario Addison (All-Pro starting defensive end) and Kawann Short (starting defensive tackle). The excitement was evident as the players exited the bus to meet the young men. Watch video here.

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Society today oftentimes judges programmatic success from data and trend lines, but when it comes to Juvenile Justice, focusing purely on analytics and spreadsheets makes it easy to forget the Section’s mission to intervene and shape tangible change in the lives of REAL people. Presenting young people with opportunities to experience confidence-building success helps reduce factors that create adult offenders out of North Carolina’s best resource – our children.

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Each May, the nation recognizes National Nurses Week culminating on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, recognized as the founder of modern nursing. In North Carolina, Juvenile Justice looks to celebrate the positive impact our nurses provide to the youth they serve -- and to recognize the collaborative work of professionals across our system to support juvenile success.  It seems an appropriate time, as we prepare to celebrate National Nurses week (May 6-12), to highlight an example of the ongoing, daily contributions of Juvenile Justice nurses.

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The Juvenile Justice Section recognized five of its general instructors earlier this month during an awards ceremony held during the Section’s annual General Instructors meeting. Kimberly Quintus, Director of the Juvenile Jurisdiction Reinvestment Act, led the awards ceremony, and Deputy Secretary William Lassiter presented awards to the following individuals during the March 2 event: 2017 Juvenile Justice Instructor of the Year: LaTonya MiddletonCourt Counselor, District 11 (Harnett, Lee, Johnston counties)

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According to the 18th century English poet Alfred Austin, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” With that in mind, Juvenile Justice Health Services has initiated a unique partnership with N.C. State University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences to design and install sensory gardens within the recreation yards on two juvenile facilities in North Carolina.

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Twenty-one high school-aged juveniles at Alexander Juvenile Detention Center recently competed in the center's annual gingerbread house competition. Nutrition Supervisor Beverly Cash coordinated the efforts by baking homemade gingerbread. Each student was given an unassembled gingerbread house, white frosting,assorted candies and 2.5 hours to create their masterpieces. Teacher John Hendrix primed the students' creativity by showing them a video of this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition held annually at the Omni-Grove Park Inn in Asheville. 

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The students and staff of two juvenile detention centers in North Carolina put their creative muscles to work to construct a sports-themed creation for the 2017 Made by Milk contest. The project encourages students to use their creativity, while learning to recycle by repurposing milk cartons. Instead of just throwing out trash, create something cool with it! Both facilities are past contest participants.

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