Committee Chairs

Fariborz Pakseresht

Best Practices Committee

Fariborz Pakseresht (Fair’-borz Pahk’-ser-esht) has served as director of the Oregon Youth Authority since March 2012. He joined OYA in 2008 after seven years in a variety of leadership roles with the Oregon Department of Human Services and 12 years at the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. OYA operates 10 youth correctional facilities across the state charged with protecting the public by reducing crime, holding youth offenders accountable, and providing youth offenders with opportunities for reformation in safe environments.

Most recently, Fariborz has sponsored the development of a new Oregon Youth Authority Performance Management System, which tracks performance against goals for more than 100 core processes. Key to the success of that system is the involvement of employees at all levels and locations within the agency, and quarterly outcome reports. This system is serving as a model for other agencies in Oregon and throughout the nation.

Fariborz also serves in a leadership role on several boards. He is a member of the Public Employee Benefit Board and is past president of the Oregon Public Management Association. His community activities include serving on the board of directors for YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties, the board of the Salem Peace Plaza, and on the planning committee of the Annual Salem Peace Lecture. He also is a fellow in the American Leadership Forum and a member of the Oregon Solutions Camp Odyssey Team. His interests include management theories and practices, personal and organizational change, human potential, communications, quantum physics, and mindfulness.

 Fariborz earned his bachelors degree in political science from Willamette University in Salem, and holds a certificate in public management from Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Positive Youth Outcome Committee - PYO

Peter J. Forbes was appointed Commissioner for the Department of Youth Services (DYS) in June 2013. Commissioner Forbes, a 30-year DYS employee, has an extensive history in human services, public administration and adolescent development. Forbes most recently served as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner where he managed field operations as well as ensured quality residential programming, community transition and supervision critical to the effective daily operation of the Department.

Commissioner Forbes’ long-standing commitment with DYS began in 1983 when he was first hired as a direct care worker at a long term Secure Treatment Unit in Boston. Forbes progressed in his professional career with the Department and held numerous direct-care and managerial roles with DYS as a Shift Supervisor, Caseworker, District Manager, Regional Director, and later as Assistant Commissioner of Operations. As the Regional Director in Boston for more than a decade, Forbes established a series of constructive relationships with public agency and community based partners that improved the services and outcomes for DYS youth.

Forbes served as the Department’s Assistant Commissioner of Operations for eight years. In this capacity he supervised field-based operations, and introduced and implemented policy and practices changes including providing oversight to ensure that the DYS residential continuum is safe for both youth and staff. Commissioner Forbes was also instrumental in the design and implementation of a structured community reentry model for DYS youth who are returning to their home communities.

Commissioner Forbes is committed to sustaining efforts that ensure low-risk youth do not penetrate the deep end of the juvenile justice system and youth in custody receive appropriate services where and when they need them.

Forbes holds a Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Administration from the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Peter also attended the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University in 2009 to participate in the Certificate program focused on Multi System Integration between the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems.

Chris Blessinger pic

Prison Rape Elimination Act Committee - PREA

Christine Blessinger serves as the Executive Director for the Division of Youth Services. Chris oversees all areas of the juvenile division to include; operations, case management, programs and re-entry. Chris began her career working for the Department of Correction in 2000 as a Psychiatric Social Service Specialist III at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.  She served as a Program Director 2 and was promoted to Program Director 1 at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.  Chris was then promoted to Program Director/Assistant Director of the Division in 2008 where she was the State Coordinator for Performance Based Standards (PbS) and Community based Standards (CbS).  She was also responsible or program implementation, Comprehensive Case Management and re-entry services before being promoted to the Chief Operations Director of the Division in 2014.  Chris is a member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) and a member of the American Correctional Association (ACA).  Chris is also a certified PREA auditor for juvenile facilities. Prior to working in corrections, Chris held positions of Youth Care Worker, Youth Manager and Case Manager at the Henry County Youth Center.  Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.



Susan Burke

Recidivism Committee


As the Director of Juvenile Justice Services, Susan Burke is responsible for the statewide administration of programs, services and facilities to provide care, custody, and supervision of at-risk and delinquent youths. Previous positions include Assistant Juvenile Court Administrator, Director of the Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence Coordinating Council, Juvenile Justice Specialist, and Community Coordinator for the Salt Lake Area Gang Project. She received her M.A. from the University of Utah.