Wednesday, May 1

Keynote  – 10:15 – 11:45am

Putting RNR into Practice:  Utilizing Risk/Needs Assessment Results to Guide Risk Reduction Strategies with Juvenile Justice-Involved Adolescents – Keith Cruise

The Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) model is the predominant framework for analyzing the factors contributing to delinquent behaviors, guiding assessment, and developing case plans in juvenile justice settings.  Recent research has confirmed that greater adherence to RNR principles leads to decreased reoffending rates.  This presentation will summarize lessons learned from this research and provide practical suggestions for juvenile justice professionals in translating these research findings into actionable case planning practices.  Emphasis will be placed on the importance of responsivity factors and the need for enhanced cross system collaboration to maximize juvenile justice professionals’ ability to translate the risk reduction findings from research into practice.

Breakout A  – 1:00 – 2:30pm

Utilizing RNR Principles in Effective Case Planning:  Overcoming Challenges and Building Champions  Keith Cruise: Building off of the keynote address, this workshop will focus on delineating practical case planning strategies, grounded in the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model that can be implemented in practice.  This workshop will utilize group discussion and case materials to identify case planning barriers and strategies at both the system and individual level to help overcome barriers.   Attendees will be able to connect the dots between all three RNR principles and effective case planning strategies that includes concrete strategies for how these principles can be applied in their own jurisdictions.   

Race in Nebraska: Digging to the Root Causes of Inequity – Juliet Summers & Taylor Givens-Dunn: This is an interactive session where participants will consider the impact that historical events, laws, and policy decisions have had on their family and themselves, and engage in discussion with other participants to understand how those system structures have disparately impacted people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Case Processing: a Core Strategy – Michele Lueders: Case processing work allows for more efficient movement of youth through the Juvenile Justice System. Case processing reform work includes the development of a system map for jurisdictions to assist in developing strategies to provide better outcomes for youth and families in the Juvenile Justice system. This session will educate attendees on the importance of understanding case processing and how to different strategies to improve case processing.

Suicide Prevention: Instilling Hope & Building Resiliency – Julia Hebenstreit: On average, we lose someone to suicide every 13 minutes in our country. Suicide is a preventable form of death and a very real public health problem that impacts individuals from a variety of backgrounds and of all ages. In this session, you will learn the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, protective factors, and positive coping strategies for good mental health. You will also learn how to help someone in need and what local and national resources are available.

Breakout B  – 3:00 – 4:30pm

Race in Nebraska: Digging to the Root Causes of Inequity – Juliet Summers & Taylor Givens-Dunn: This is an interactive session where participants will consider the impact that historical events, laws, and policy decisions have had on their family and themselves, and engage in discussion with other participants to understand how those system structures have disparately impacted people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Strengthening Families through Community Collaboration  Dr. Jasney Cogua-Lopez & Regina Costello: Boys Town will discuss how providers are able to work together to strengthen families, focusing on the difference between the development/execution of a Community Prevention Implementation System versus prevention programs within a community. A case example will illustrate the understanding of Community Implementation Systems at Boys Town–South Omaha. The example will address challenges and focus on opportunities that universally impact communities on a larger scale, ultimately keeping more youth out of the juvenile justice system.

Restorative Practices: Casting a Wider Net than Restorative Justice – Dr. Anne Hobbs, Monica Miles-Steffens: There are sectors within the U.S. juvenile justice system that have utilized restorative justice for decades. Despite this, the U.S. system in general has not adopted restorative practices as readily as other models. For example, only 4 restorative juvenile justice programs are cited on OJJDPs model programs guide (one of which was a program modeled after an Australia program). This presentation will highlight innovative ways RP are being used across the globe.

Engaging the Source: New Approaches to Address Youth who Run Away – Sarah Forrest & Christine Henningson: Those who work in the formal juvenile justice system or in prevention and diversion programs often struggle with how to effectively approach youth who run away. Since 2010, Nebraska’s laws have prioritized keeping these children out of detention and formal juvenile justice system involvement. But many of those in the field continue to see these cases and struggle with what to do. Using interactive case studies, this session will provide practitioners with a better understanding of this complex issue, as well as practical tools for responding to the individual youth they encounter.

YRTC Tour

Thursday, May 2

Keynote  – 9:05 – 10:15am

The Illusion of Choice – Rebecca Bender

Rebecca Bender was lured out of her small community and forced into human trafficking for nearly six years. Tricked by a man she thought was her boyfriend, many vulnerabilities she was unaware of set her up to be a target for traffickers. Her inspiring story of resiliency and hope will remind you of why you do the work you do. 

Breakout C  – 10:30 – 11:45am

Commercial Trafficking: Tools for Effective Investigation and Prosecution – Rebecca Bender: Law enforcement, probation, prosecution, victim advocates and expert witness all are working tirelessly to help combat exploitation. This breakout session will give you tools to help with trial and investigation, lay a foundation for victimology of trafficking-specific cases and will better assist in victim disclosure.

Juvenile Justice Policy Reform from the Perspective of Young People  2018 Members of the Nebraska Youth Justice Policy Fellowship: This panel will include young people who are graduates of the Nebraska Youth Justice Policy Fellowship. Panel members, who are currently or have recently been involved in Nebraska’s juvenile justice system, will relate their personal experiences to current policy issues and propose specific solutions to be considered by policy makers and system leaders. Opportunities for all young people to have their voices heard in new ways will be identified.

What Causes Empty Seats? Early Warning Signs of Non-Attendance – Wendy Kaiser: This interactive session will explore the warning signs often seen in youth and families at risk of attendance issues. This session will detail specific warning signs, discuss how problematic areas and needs can be identified via an evidence-based assessment, explore cultural connections to attendance, and guide professionals as they work to engage students and families in this space. The session is best suited for individuals working directly with youth and/or families.

Evidence-Based Nebraska Update – What Works? – Anne Hobbs & Lindsey Wylie: Many juvenile justice practitioners and funders want to know what prevents youth from getting involved in delinquent acts. In this presentation, the staff and faculty of JJI will update practitioners on the latest research findings and program evaluations conducted under the Evidence-based Nebraska Project. Findings may include: best practices in truancy interventions, the efficacy of school resource officers, best practices for prevention and promotion programs, and whether utilizing drug testing improves outcomes for youth. Other research findings may include how to recruit and retain youth in programming and the use of assessment tools to tailor more meaningful interventions for youth.

Breakout D  – 1:30 – 2:45pm

How to Work With Victims of Trafficking – Rebecca Bender: An in-depth look for any youth service provider, on how to work with victims and better locate state and national resources. Learn promising practices and language that has power for each youth you are serving. Walk away with tools to identify, respond, and know your lane in this arena.

Juvenile Justice Policy Reform from the Perspective of Young People  2018 Members of the Nebraska Youth Justice Policy Fellowship: This panel will include young people who are graduates of the Nebraska Youth Justice Policy Fellowship. Panel members, who are currently or have recently been involved in Nebraska’s juvenile justice system, will relate their personal experiences to current policy issues and propose specific solutions to be considered by policy makers and system leaders. Opportunities for all young people to have their voices heard in new ways will be identified.

Plan for Your Future! – Scott Eckel & Christine Henningsen: This session prepares youth to discuss their juvenile court experience in future endeavors. We will provide hands-on instructions for how to check if your record is sealed, how to initiate the process, and how to verify that their record has been sealed. There will be opportunities for youth and providers to practice advocating for record sealing, role-playing interviewing scenarios, and how to respond to application questions involving their juvenile record in applications.

Re-thinking Justice: Victim Youth Conferencing leading the way in Restorative Justice in Nebraska – Alisha Jimenez & Mary Rose Richter: Victim Youth Conferencing (VYC) is a restorative justice program available statewide from the Office of Dispute Resolution-approved regional mediation centers.  VYC is accessible to youth at any stage of the juvenile justice process, including referrals from schools, diversion, courts, and probation. This session will share the program’s success, including low rates of re-offending and high rates of reparations to the victim. Presenters will use practical demonstration and youth/victim testimonies to demonstrate how VYC works, and will share research findings from an external evaluation.

Breakout E  – 3:00 – 4:15pm

From Trauma Informed to Trauma Capable: Initiating the Healing Process – Cheryl Turner: This presentation builds on information from Trauma Informed Care to provide basic skills that attendees can be cognizant of and utilize when interacting with individuals impacted by unresolved trauma. Discussion and focus will center on approaching and working with a child or adolescent who is demonstrating that they are feeling unsafe or vulnerable through their actions and behaviors.

Utilizing Voice and Choice to Improve Outcomes for Crossover Youth and their Families  Hon. Douglas F. Johnson, Dr. Ryan Spohn, Nick Juliano and Marlon Wofford: This session will describe how the inclusion of youth and families in a system decision point improves decision-making and enhances outcomes for crossover youth. Case specific examples will be presented along with practical advice, lessons learned, and evaluation results to assist participants interested in replicating this approach.     

Planning and Intervening with Youth Who Have Sexually Harmful Behaviors – Julie A. Smith, Michael Nehe: Youth with sexually harmful behaviors pose a complex challenge for our communities.  Cultural and ethical norms often lead to overestimated risk, resulting in over-supervision that increases rather than decreases their future risk. Using case studies, this session will focus on understanding risk factors as identified by the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) and developing meaningful interventions.

Up In Smoke – Facing Emerging Substance Use Issues Head On  Renee Faber, Jessica Haebe: Substance use is prevalent among youth involved in the juvenile justice system.  Today’s emerging drugs coupled with risk factors among this vulnerable population present unique challenges for the courts and community-based providers.  This session will address drugs trends such vaping and marijuana while discussing prevention and intervention strategies at the community level.

Friday, May 3

Keynote and Workshops – 8:30 – 11:45am

Calling all Hope Dealers: Every Child Has a Story, Every Story Deserves Heroes – Hasan Davis

After a brief overview of some of the pressing issues across our youth serving systems Hasan Davis will share his experience of transitioning through the education, justice and social service systems. These were systems that, often, failed to provide him the level support he needed to be successful. Hasan was lucky to find that on his journey there were, within each system, outliers and resisters who found a way to engage, encourage and empower him. With the support of these “Hope Dealers,” Hasan was able to transcended his mounting list of “failures” to become an advocate for himself and eventually a champion for others experiencing difficult times. 

Workshop I  8:30-9:45am

Pages from the Hope Dealers Handbook  Hasan Davis: Hasan believes that each person in the community has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to influence and change the way youth encounter the education, justice and social service systems.  With the help of courageous and committed “Hope Dealers” Hasan has managed to navigate many challenges and overcome major social, emotional and physical challenges. Hasan will share the simple strategies his personal champions (Hope Dealers) employed to help him complete the “JD shuffle” and go from Hasan Davis Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis Juris Doctor.       

Workshop II 10:15-11:45am

Strategies for Engaging Students in their own Success – Hasan Davis: In this interactive workshop Hasan will explore the foundations of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and the impact of non-cognitive engagement on group culture, behavior and norms. In an exploration of the Affective Domain (often referred to as The Feeling House, per Hasan’s Mentor, the late Dr. Willie Parker) Hasan will share a couple of exciting strategies for building a strong classroom (or small group) culture of accountability. Come ready to dive into a live experience of these great tools.