HOPE Centers and Staff Trainings to De-escalate Youth in Crisis Replacing the old concept of restricted housing, Hope Centers are a new way to manage youth who are acting out and in crisis. This year, Hope Centers were available in all juvenile halls and camps and became an environment for the majority of officers to provide a safe place for a youth to de-escalate prior to or after an incident. Hope Centers offer youth displaying disruptive behaviors a safe place to have time to cool down and reflect. Stays for this type of situation can be for a period of up to eight hours and are approved by a supervisor. While a youth is in the Hope Center they can participate in all normal activities including attending school, having family visits, and participating in activities as long as their behavior is stable. Youth in Hope Centers also receive extra care from teams of Probation staff and Department of Mental Health therapists. Recognizing that additional staffing, especially from mental health providers, was necessary at Hope Center locations, the Department focused on improving access in its staffing plans for 2018. The Department of Mental Health also refers youth to the Hope Center so they can be evaluated and stabilized prior to going into the general population. However, youth under mental health observation often have longer length of stays in the Hope Centers than those requiring a temporary cool-down. The change from the use of restricted housing requires training and education. Training on using Hope Centers and de- escalation techniques did not fully address the staff’s needs, likely resulting in a rise in youth-on-youth and youth-on-staff incidents. Training staff on new de-escalation techniques was a major priority for Probation in 2018. In addition to de- escalation training, all staff assigned to the Hope Centers as well as many other staff in juvenile facilities have received Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training. DBT is a type of evidence-based therapy designed to help people with mood disorders as well as those who need to change patterns of behavior, such as self-harm, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. Over 64 percent of the staff in juvenile facilities has completed formalized Trauma Informed Training and the remainder will be trained in 2019. Tactical Communications Training also was rolled out in 2018 and work began on the CPI Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training that will take place in 2019. The average length of stay in the Hope Centers at all halls was 3 hours. (For a 90-day period, 4th quarter of 2018) Less than 1% of the youth across all halls needed the Hope Centers. (Based on the average population of the facilities over a 90-day period) Inspired by Probation’s holistic approach to juvenile rehabilitation, several major physical improvement projects were completed in juvenile halls and camps in 2018. Improvements included projects designed in consideration of improving the emotional well-being of youth and staff as well as beautification efforts that brightened up buildings and landscapes. Several of the projects in 2018 included the creation of the Boys’ CARE Unit at Central Juvenile Hall (CJH); the addition of vivid, colorful, and passionate art from the Mural Project; and additional projects that incorporated educational training and service for youth. Although some physical improvements have been completed, much work remains to be done in the coming years. Boys’ Care Unit at Central Juvenile Hall Opens L.A. County Probation renovated the Boys’ CARE Unit at Central Juvenile Hall in 2018, creating a environment that felt less institutional for the youth and where evidence-based programming could have the greatest impact. Designed to treat emotionally-fragile youth, the unit now has revamped living quarters, restrooms, a day room, a beautiful recreation yard, and a staff kitchen area. The CARE Unit includes vividly colored housing rooms, a small library, and an outdoor space with brightly colored benches and a small floral garden. Youth at CJH played a major role in the design including selecting the bright orange, green, and yellow color scheme. Probation Chief Terri L. McDonald expressed her appreciation for the Central Juvenile Hall staff who dedicated their time and energy to the boys who will be served in the new CARE Unit. “I couldn’t be more pleased and impressed with the work that you all do every day to impart positivity and healing to these young people,” McDonald expressed. “The transformation of this unit is really about the transformation of the way we do things here in Los Angeles County.” The Probation Department and its partner agencies at Central Juvenile Hall focus their efforts on offering evidence-based programs to probation youth. The new boys’ unit provide youth with mental health strategies that will improve their adaptive behaviors. “In this unit, we provide care to youth who need highly intensified services,” said Probation Director Jocelyn Roman. “They may have a greater level of need based on their risk and needs assessment or may be classified as high-risk, but have a low criminogenic rate, so releasing them into a general population may be more detrimental to their rehabilitation. This small, intensified unit allows us to work with those youth one-on-one.” The Department plans to begin the renovation of CJH’s Girls’ CARE in 2019. “When I came to Boys’ CARE, it was magnificent; there was no gang talk, or people having arguments out of the blue. It’s like wow, this does not look like juvenile hall; it’s like college. We have programs like choir, robotics and InsideOut Writers. It’s beautiful.” — Youth from Boys’ CARE Unit Improving Facilities L.A. County Probation Department | 2018 Annual Report 27 26 L.A. County Probation Department | 2018 Annual Report