Performance-based Standards (PbS) is very pleased to announce Snowden Cottage in Wilmington, DE as one of the finalists for the 2018 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the community residential category. Snowden Cottage was selected for their comprehensive efforts to ensure fairness throughout the program.

The PbS team at Snowden Cottage noticed a low percentage of youths reported the rules were fair on their surveys and decided to focus on improving this measure. To get to the root of the issue, the team held meetings with staff and youths along with a special review and follow up on grievances and complaints. They determined youths were struggling to understand the rules of the cottage due to confusion over their Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) programming. To start, all staff were refreshed on the state policies and the youth’s cottage handbook expectations during staff meetings and individual supervision meetings. Families were also informed about PbS and this improvement plan to demonstrate Snowden’s commitment to improving the overall performance of the treatment they provide.

For youths to feel that the rules of Snowden Cottage were fair, all staff took part in implementing and achieving three successful interventions. The first intervention was an informative focus. Management met with staff to discuss the issue. The staff and youths designed poster boards of rules to display throughout the Cottage. The second intervention included refresher activities for staff and youths such as: Cottage Bingo, Cottage Jeopardy, Who Knows the Cottage Best and Cottage Millionaire. During these activities, youths were able to accept directives from staff, take accountability and promote leadership qualities without feeling like they were being treated unfairly. The third intervention was recognition. Staff recognition was given in various ways via email, kudos, performance evaluations, a quarterly employee award and the residential cottages newsletter to show appreciation for hard work.

Thus far, the interventions outlined in this improvement plan have more than doubled the percentage of youths reporting the rules are fair, reaching almost 100%.

The PbS 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. 3, 2018. Stay tuned for more blogs about the 2018 finalists.