DPS Dispatch

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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We wrap up our recognition of Juvenile Justice week this afternoon with a spotlight on our Central Office staff. Central Office is the tie that binds it all together, housing budget, purchasing, IT, human resources, training, policy and management/oversight of Juvenile Justice. A central figure in Central Office is Bonnie Clark, whose working knowledge of administrative processes and procedures – a critical part of day-to-day operations – is second to none.

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It's TGIF -- and we are certainly thankful for the staff of Treatment Services during Juvenile Justice week and beyond. Mental health is a complex and pivotal segment of juvenile healthcare. Juveniles committed to North Carolina's juvenile justice system present with multiple and complex behavioral health needs. Psychological program managers within Juvenile Justice -- such as regional Psychological Program Manager Dr.

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Education Services is charged with fulfilling all state and federal mandates of a traditional school system for youths committed to state juvenile facilities. Janet Dalton, a teacher at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, tries to reach even the most resistant learners by providing games and activities for her students to make the classroom enjoyable while the students learn. An avid math enthusiast, Dalton has volunteered on several occasions to assist other teachers.

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Today the Juvenile Justice week spotlight is on Health Services, the team that is dedicated to meeting the health and health education needs of the youths in juvenile justice facilities. Our professional medical staff screen and assess youth upon admission, develop healthcare plans and provide appropriate interventions and/or follow-up that may include referral for specialty assessment and intervention.

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As Juvenile Justice week continues today, we turn our attention to Juvenile Facility Operations. Staff in this unit operates two types of secure commitment centers for youths in North Carolina: juvenile detention centers and youth development centers. Many types of staff members are crucial to ensure that children are properly care for while committed to a juvenile justice facility. Children must eat, and proper nutrition is crucial. Cumberland Juvenile Detention Center’s Cook Supervisor, Tena Sonko, has the knowledge, heart and will to make sure that children in her care are properly fed.

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Employees in DPS’ Juvenile Community Programs unit work to provide North Carolinians with a comprehensive strategy to help prevent and reduce juvenile crime and delinquency. They do this by providing oversight and guidance to Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) programs, found in each county; to short-term youth residential programs; and through non-residential contractual programs that offer services to children and families such as functional family therapy (FFT).

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We kick off our recognition of “Juvenile Justice” week with our Court Services unit. Juvenile Court Counselors provide intake and supervision for undisciplined and delinquent juveniles, through such services as assessment, case management, diversion and post-release supervision.

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Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed Oct. 15-21, 2017, as “Juvenile Justice” week in North Carolina. All this week, we will be spotlighting the different units of our Juvenile Justice section through their outstanding employees, in recognition of their work with juvenile offenders, their families, crime victims and communities. 

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Children who are housed temporarily in North Carolina’s juvenile detention centers find they are provided the opportunity to experience growth in many ways: from social, to educational, to emotional. A newly developed program at the Cumberland Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fayetteville allows them to nurture growth (of donated plants) while exploring their artistic creativity.

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Some say that a dog is a man’s best friend. Well, in this case, SAYLOR, a three-year-old yellow lab, aims to become the best friend for children in the New Hanover Juvenile Detention Center. An affectionate, expressive SAYLOR joined the center June 9 and has been making friends ever since. She is the first facility dog placed at a detention center by the paws4people foundation, a nonprofit organization that places assistance dogs with individuals and facilities with the purpose of helping people.

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A teacher is someone that not only teaches her students but inspires, transforms, prepares and encourages them to do more, be more. That’s why Janet Dalton, math teacher at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, was inspired to enter the profession. She had a third grade teacher who made everyone in her class work together as a team and contribute accordingly. It’s what she hopes to pass along to her students, and why she was named this year’s Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year.

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One teacher at Cabarrus Juvenile Detention Center in Concord has developed a unique way to work with the juveniles who pass through the center’s doors during their encounters with North Carolina’s juvenile justice system. To foster his students’ growth and development, Steven Hailey offers them the opportunity to nurture distressed plants he has procured at discount from a local home improvement store.

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Illness, family vacation and emergencies may keep children out of school from time to time, and are a common occurrence in North Carolina classrooms. Excessive, repeated and unexcused school absences – known as truancy – negatively affect a child’s ability to learn, grow and eventually graduate, which may lead to unemployment and other negative outcomes as an adult.

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