As a team builder, Schuylkill County Children and Youth have maintained a softball team for many years. This year, JusticeWorks staff have been offered the opportunity to participate on their team. This past week, they played against Broad Mountain Nursing Home. Our Director of Colorado Services was in Pennsylvania for training. He was recruited to play on the team! After a tough battle, JusticeWorks staff assisted CYS in Victory over Broad Mountain 10-6!
“It is wonderful to see such collaboration, teamwork, and comradery on and off the field. That is the recipe for success!” stated JusticeWorks Director, Sam Gerdeman.
Schuylkill County Children and Youth and JusticeWorks once again demonstrate that it is hard to defeat a great team!
Front row (left to right): FRS Iesha Santos, Supervisor Tom Bilinski, President & CEO Dan Heit, Director Rebecca Bieber, Supervisor Trish Beltz
Back row (left to right): Director Dipesh Chauhan, CCAP Deputy Director Brinda Penyak, FRS Shannon Rhodes, JDCAP Executive Director Wayne Bear, Regional Director Jeff Ralph, Juvenile Probation Officer Justin Clay
The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of Pennsylvania counties. CCAP provides county leaders with information and guidance related to legislation, education, media, insurance, technology, and many other issues that help create and maintain vital services for residents throughout the state.
CCAP supports county leadership that is responsive to the needs and circumstances of citizens. Every year, CCAP honors outstanding criminal and juvenile justice efforts through award recognition for being innovative pioneers in meeting the challenges facing all county jails and juvenile justice providers. JusticeWorks is pleased to announce that CCAP recently bestowed the 2019 Juvenile Alternatives Program Award to Berks County for our JusticeWorks YouthCare Reintegration Program.
The Reintegration program was developed to provide the “missing link” in intensive long-term treatment and residential programs. The program begins while the youth are detained, continues throughout the placement, and their transition into the community. Reintegration requires collaboration between the out-of-home placement facility, stakeholders, families, and the community to ensure delivery of services and supervision. It also involves partnerships with other child-serving agencies and community supports to expand the capacity of youth services.
Our innovative programming has generated numerous success stories. JusticeWorks YouthCare takes seriously its responsibility to be an accountable and high-quality provider of services. We are committed to evaluating the outcomes of our work, which then guides the evolution of our programs. While we are proud of the outstanding results we’ve achieved, we never stop trying to improve our programs.
We are honored to be recognized for our Reintegration program and delighted to receive this award. Many thanks to our Berks County Team for their outstanding commitment to JusticeWorks’ mission and values.
Judges table: Dan Heit, Robert McGee, and Angel Ramos
Winners: 3rd place- Samantha Gerdeman, 2nd place – Kaitlyn Miller, 1st place – Vince Troutman.
While the rest of Pennsylvania enjoys the frigid temperatures of March, the Schuylkill County team opted to warm things up. On March 18th, JusticeWorks Schuylkill hosted their first annual Chili Cookoff! Dan Heit, our President & CEO, surprised the staff as a celebrity judge! Ten delicious pots of chili were entered and faced off against each other in a bracket-style match-up. Our 2019 winner was Vince Troutman. Congrats Vince! We are confident that you will have hungry competitors from other counties who will want to participate next year!
JusticeWorks has always had a passion for supporting its staff. Our staff engagement strategies have produced a culture of team spirit and accomplishment. We are proud that our environment let’s staff feel a part of something greater than themselves and leads to emotional gratification in their work. Research shows that staff with high job satisfaction produce positive outcomes.
Hello JusticeWorks Team,
I just wanted to send a quick email to acknowledge Dalton White, he is currently working with a family for one of my cases and they cannot speak any higher of him. This family was not the easiest to deal with and yet he completely turned their home around for the better. The mother explained to me (the caseworker) that “ Dalton doesn’t choose a side and will tell both myself and my daughter when we are wrong, now we work together and I don’t wait for her when I drive her to places, I know I was mean to my daughter and I have to stop. Dalton showed me that I need to give my daughter more freedom and he showed her that she needs to listen to her mother.” The mother feels Dalton really helped their family in such a positive way and I just wanted to share that with you guys. You have a great team over there.
Monroe County Children and Youth Services
Kimberly, thank you for recognizing the amazing work of Dalton. Dalton, we value and appreciate the high standard of care you offer to the families we serve. People like you make an incredible impact on the community we serve.
Staci Barnes, Schuylkill County FRS, Receives Commendation from Schuylkill County Children & Youth Services!
(Email from County Caseworker):
Just want to thank everyone involved in the Dixon* case. Not every day do we receive praise from a parent for our support in their success! During my unannounced visit yesterday, Ms. Dixon* and I reflected on how far she has come since our initial visits. We did not elaborate too much on anything negative. However, Ms. Dixon* mentioned how much she truly appreciates us. She specifically elaborated about Staci Barnes and her support. Staci was definitely a huge asset to our team. I will personally attest to Staci’s respect and expertise with drug and alcohol clients. Staci motivated parents to complete a Relapse Prevention Plan; something which Ms. Dixon* and her son, David,* took much pride in. Staci diligently addressed and worked through many hurdles with this family. Ms. Dixon* also mentioned how much easier it has become to open up to her new supportive worker, Jamie.
Here is an update on progress: David* was just successfully discharged from Drug & Alcohol and Anger Management treatment. Since December, Ms. Dixon* has been transitioned to a lower level of care. She is also close to being discharged. Ms. Dixon* is ready to start seeking employment opportunities. Also, she stated she would like to know more about becoming a Peer Support Specialist. On multiple occasions, Ms. Dixon* shared with us how she enjoys telling her story and encouraging others. She realized how important it is to be honest and open with us. She reminds other parents she comes in contact with how important it is to connect with CYS caseworkers. Ms. Dixon* is thankful for us being involved with her family at such a time. She knows that we helped them overcome extremely tough challenges and connect in ways they seriously needed. Her relationship with David* and her other sons keeps getting better.
Aimee Thompson, Case Worker
Schuylkill Co. Children & Youth Services
Thank you, Ms. Thompson, in sharing your thoughts on Staci’s excellent teamwork abilities. We agree – she is an asset to JusticeWorks! We look forward to hearing more about the exciting future in front of Ms. Dixon and her entire family.
ERICKA BRUNNER, ADAMS COUNTY FRS, RECEIVES WELL-DESERVED PRAISE FROM A VERY BRAVE AND DETERMINED MOTHER
I’m sure I am somewhere in your files, but my name is Christine. I have two daughters, one age 12, and the other, age 9. In February 2017, my husband of 10 years poured gasoline on me and tried to light me on fire in front of my children. He was arrested and went to jail accordingly. Unfortunately, even though we were married, I lost everything, having no access to bank accounts, vehicles, or even my own driver’s license. Of course, he was allowed no contact with the girls and me, but his parents tried to sue me for full custody of the girls, citing the trauma I had gone through, as well as the fact that I was homeless, jobless, etc. They even went so far as to take my vehicle, because it was in my husband’s name, knowing a divorce settlement would take years due to his incarceration and unwillingness to sign. Inside the vehicle was the entire year of my children’s homeschool work, which they admitted to destroying. We, in simple terms, we’re screwed.
Then came Justice Works, represented by Ericka Brunner. She began by simply giving me a ride to the DMV to get a new copy of my license. We then moved on to health insurance, food assistance, and educational materials to allow the girls to bypass their homeschool review and test out for the year. By the end of her time with my family, I managed to retain full custody, (they were forced to drop the suit entirely) find therapy services for my children, who now have PTSD, and encourage me to shoot for the stars and apply for my dream job.
I now work from home, full time, as a legal marketing strategist. The girls can remain homeschooled, and I make enough to support us. This year I was even able to swing a lovely Christmas.
The girls and I are eternally grateful for the help we received. Being an adult, I realize how close I came to losing my precious children, through no fault of my own. I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know Justice Works… WORKS.
A year later I am able to support my family with no form of public assistance, I have a great job, and I learned it is ok to do things MY way and be successful. Without Ericka to encourage me, I would have given up. I was at the end of my patience, and frankly, my will to try.
Please keep doing what you do. You truly are SAVING LIVES and families. I wanted to go beyond the paperwork and give you my personal thanks and support you as much as you supported us. If you EVER need any form of testimony, please contact me. I will never forget you, or Ericka, and my girls and I are living proof that you guys are truly needed and truly successful.
Christine, you are not only in our files but also in our hearts. Thank you, for providing wonderful feedback on FRS, Ericka Brunner. Thank you, Ericka, for supporting and partnering with Christine in the spirit of the JusticeWorks’ Mission. It is through the power of positive relationships that true healing begins!