2015 Finalist Spotlight: Youth Opportunity Center

Posted by Lisa Martinek
August 05, 2015

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) in Muncie, IN as one of the finalists for the 2015 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the community category. The program was selected as a finalist for their improvement plan reducing youth and staff fear for safety.

The team at YOC recognized that staff and youth perceptions play a key role in how they interact and whether they are able to develop positive rapport with one another—a key aspect of effective programming. Therefore, they held a focus group to figure out why people did not feel safe. Based on the findings, the team updated the grievance process so youths would know their concerns were being addressed, implemented a council for youths so they would have an ongoing voice about safety concerns and improved staffing levels.

Paula Anderson, Director of Compliance, explains that buy-in from staff is key: “We feel that one of the keys to this success is that we have obtained buy-in from everyone in the organization. From our CEO and Board of Directors to our Direct Care Staff, everyone seems to understand that safety is a top priority. We did not need to “sell” this idea to anyone involved. As a result, we have received tremendous support in the development and implementation of our Facility Improvement Plan.”

The Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara-Allen Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Her dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. The award is given to a correction, detention/assessment and community program who best exemplify PbS’ commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Winners of the award will be announced the night of the ceremony on Aug. 14, 2015. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

Staff at Youth Opportunity Center

Golf Volunteers
Group picture of golf volunteers