Fl Juvenile Justice Employees Report, 2005
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September 2005 Report No. 05-46 Qualifications, Screening, Salaries, and Training Affect Quality and Turnover of Juvenile Justice Employees at a glance Florida’s minimum educational requirements for juvenile justice staff parallel those of similar states, and the department is making the process of checking staff’s criminal history more timely and thorough. Salaries paid to direct care staff by most private providers are lower than those paid by the state (although salaries of private provider program directors are higher). Providers assert that this is due to limited increases in per diem rates over time. Salary is one of several factors that contribute to staff turnover, which increases overtime, hiring, and training costs. However, programs can reduce turnover by selecting employees who relate to youth in positive ways; involving direct care staff in treatment; and fostering good relationships among staff. Training requirements for state employees, who must become certified, are higher than those of private provider staff. A new workgroup will study the feasibility of certification for private provider staff. More staff training is needed on de-escalating potentially dangerous situations and modeling and helping youth learn pro-social skills and attitudes. Scope _________________ As directed by the Legislature, OPPAGA reviewed the qualifications, screening, salaries, and training of employees that provide care and custody of youth in Florida’s juvenile justice system. 1 As Florida’s juvenile justice system is highly privatized, we examined both state and private provider practices in these areas. Background ____________ The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is charged with protecting the public by reducing juvenile crime and delinquency. To do so, the department provides a continuum of programs including prevention, detention, probation, and residential commitment. To achieve its mission, the department must hire and retain competent direct care employees that work directly with youth. This staff is responsible for ensuring that juveniles in the state’s custody are free from harm and have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to avoid recidivating when released back into their home communities. 1 This review is limited to direct care staff only. We did not examine the qualifications of other personnel such as medical, mental health, food service, and custodial employees. Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability an office of the Florida Legislature OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 In recent years, the department has faced numerous incidents of staff abuse, mistreatment, and inadequate care of youth in detention and residential commitment programs; these incidents have resulted in injury and even negligent death. This has raised legislative concerns with the qualifications and training of program staff. in probation. The department requires higher standards for these employees because they work out in the community away from direct supervision much of the time and require the skills to represent the department in court and write numerous reports and the analytical ability to make independent judgment calls. Private providers, who operate most of the department’s delinquency programs, generally have adopted the minimum state educational requirements. To examine the minimum qualifications, screening, salaries, and training of direct care staff, we examined department policies and procedures and visited prevention, detention, probation, and residential programs throughout the state. (See Appendix A.) We also conducted case studies of staffing issues at seven residential programs with staff turnover ranging from 0 (none) to 105%. Turnover is a critical factor linked to screening, salaries, and training. Florida’s minimum educational requirements parallel those of other states that are similar in size or are located in the southeast. New York, California, Texas, and Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina also require high school diplomas or their equivalent. Louisiana, however, requires all direct care staff to have bachelor’s degrees. Qualifications and Screening _____________ National accreditation standards do not address minimum educational requirements for juvenile justice staff, requiring instead that staff be adequate to provide program services. Minimum qualifications for persons who work in residential delinquency programs are established in law. Florida statutes require that all employees who work in a correctional capacity be at least 19-years-old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and not have been convicted of specified misdemeanors or felonies. 2 The background screening process is being enhanced The department requires background screening for all state and private direct care employees to ensure that they have not been convicted of specified misdemeanors or felonies. 3 The department takes several steps to ensure that staff meets these requirements and is implementing new procedures to reduce the time required for criminal history checks, quickly identify personnel who commit crimes while employed, and stop the churning of undesirable staff from one provider to the next. Florida’s staff educational requirements are similar to those of other states As a correctional agency, the department requires staff to have a high school diploma (or equivalent). Direct care employees in prevention, detention, or residential programs are not required to meet additional educational requirements. However, the department does require staff of certain programs to hold bachelor’s degrees, such as employees working 2 The statutes, ss. 943.13(4) and 985.406(3), F.S., also require that individuals not have received a dishonorable discharge from any of the Armed Forces of the United States and that they abide by all of the provisions of s. 985.01(2), F.S., regarding fingerprinting and background investigations. 3 2 Disqualifying crimes include murder, domestic battery, sexual battery, aggravated assault/battery, felony drug charges, lewd and lascivious behavior, felony theft and robbery, and vehicular homicide. Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Current screening process is time-consuming. and training employees that must subsequently be terminated after their criminal history is known is expensive and timeconsuming. The department’s current background screening process, which is used for both its own employees and those hired by private providers, consists of three phases. First is a preliminary screening that involves a driver's license check, a juvenile criminal history check, a state criminal history check, and for state employees, a national criminal history check. 4 Applicants who pass this step are permitted to begin working while they undergo a second screening, which must be initiated by the employer within five days of employment. This second step consists of a fingerprint matching check by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) against state and national criminal databases. This check currently can take several months to complete. If the check discloses criminal offenses that statutorily disqualify the employee from working with juvenile justice youth, he or she must be immediately terminated from the position. 5 Third, as a condition of continued employment, all employees undergo a rescreening background check every five years and are required to inform their employers if they are arrested for any disqualifying offenses while employed. To expedite the process, the department is implementing live scan. To shorten the time required for the second criminal background screening, the department plans to fully implement live scan technology in fall 2005. Live scan transmits fingerprint information to FDLE electronically, which expedites the entire process. State and national criminal record search results will be made available within three working days, instead of the current three to six-month turnaround. This new technology will provide the department criminal history obtained through both phases of screening within the time that it currently takes to finalize the first step, thereby eliminating the possibility of employees coming into direct contact with youth before they are fully approved to do so. Once the new process is implemented, the department will no longer permit an employee to begin working in a program before his or her criminal history has been determined. 2005 Legislature required continuous record checks. The Legislature passed Ch. 2005-263, The lengthy wait for the criminal background check to be completed is problematic. It creates a safety issue when a statutorily disqualified offender is on site with youth and staff until his or her criminal history is discovered during the second background check. During the past year, the department reports that 498 applicants have been dismissed due to information uncovered by the second screening. The wait for FDLE results is also costly because the program must begin training the new employee during this time to comply with department safety requirements. Hiring 4 As a criminal justice agency, DJJ has the authority to conduct national criminal checks on all persons applying to work at its facilities during the preliminary screening. 5 The department has an exemption process for persons who wish to present a case that they should be hired despite a criminal background. Of the 48 persons who applied for exemption from May 2004 to May 2005, 12 were granted. Laws of Florida, to enhance the process for re- screening current employees. The law requires FDLE to run an ongoing check of arrest data as it comes in against a list of department and provider employees. The department, and subsequently the provider, will be immediately notified of any employee arrest. FDLE anticipates that the new system will be in operation in December 2005. Employee verification system. The department and providers also are implementing an employee verification system to address concerns about undesirable employees moving from program to program. This has been a problem in the past, when persons who were fired or forced to leave one program sometimes were hired at another program after they failed to list previous jobs on their employment application or misrepresented the circumstances 3 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 under which they left. To help ensure that programs have knowledge of prior employment, employers will be required to input into a database the name and partial social security number of all employees and their dates of employment and separation. When an employee leaves a program, the provider must complete a one-page form summarizing why the employee left and place it in the employee’s personnel file. According to the department, this new system will help potential employers within the juvenile justice system obtain the data needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to hire an applicant. Employers using this system will be less likely to unwittingly hire employees who were fired or resigned in lieu of termination from other juvenile justice providers. The department expects the system to be operational in fall 2005. high school diploma. State detention officers earn higher salaries than state residential staff because the Legislature appropriated a raise for detention staff only in 2000 when detention turnover became critical. Salaries and Turnover Prevention programs are completely privatized while detention and probation programs are primarily state-operated. Therefore, our analysis of salaries and turnover focused on residential programs because they provide the best basis for comparing state and private provider salaries. Approximately half of all direct care staff work in residential programs. Exhibit 1 Probation Employees Earn Higher Salaries Than Staff of Other Types of Programs State Starting Median Probation Detention Residential Prevention $28,205 23,265 22,571 NA $28,205 1 25,510 22,762 NA Private Starting Median $25,629 NA 17,160 18,843 $27,168 NA 18,663 19,315 1 Starting and median salaries are the same for state probation staff due to turnover and salary compression. Source: OPPAGA analysis of workforce survey of private providers conducted by the Florida Juvenile Justice Association in January 2005 and state data provided by Department of Juvenile Justice. ___ We compared the starting and median salaries among types of programs, between state and private providers, and with eligibility levels for public assistance programs. 6 We also reviewed salary increases over time and examined the effect of salary and the work environment on staff turnover. State residential direct care employees in Florida start at higher salaries than those offered by private providers, as shown in Exhibit 1. While there is a substantial range in starting salaries paid by private providers, all programs we examined had lower starting salaries than the state’s starting salary of $22,571. The starting annual salaries for private residential direct care employees ranged from $14,539 to $21,008, with a median of $17,160. Department staff salaries are generally higher than those paid by private providers State direct care workers generally earn more than private direct care workers. Salaries vary among program types, as shown in Exhibit 1. Probation and detention employees are the highest paid and are state-employed, with the exception of a small number of employees providing specialized probation services. Juvenile probation officers have the highest starting and median salaries because they are required to have a bachelor’s degree, whereas other employees are required only to have a 6 Program The state’s starting salaries appear to be on par with those of most other southeastern states, as shown in Exhibit 2. The median represents the midpoint of all salaries; half were higher, and half were lower. 4 Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Some private direct care employees may qualify for government assistance Exhibit 2 Department Residential Direct Care Starting Salaries Are Comparable to Those of Other Southeastern States State Georgia North Carolina South Carolina Florida Alabama Texas Louisiana Mississippi As directed by the Legislature, we analyzed whether direct care employees qualify for public assistance programs including food stamps; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and KidCare. Based on starting and median salary levels, some direct care employees may qualify for these programs. As previously noted, the median salary for private residential direct care workers is $18,663. As data on the size of employees’ families is not available, we researched eligibility for a single income household with two dependents. The eligibility requirements for public assistance programs vary, as shown in Exhibit 4. Based on the 2005 income requirements of these programs, a single income household at the starting or median salary of a private direct care employee with two dependents would qualify for food stamps, WIC, and KidCare. Starting Salary $23,614 23,037 21,468 20,850 20,626 20,592 19,344 16,123 Source: OPPAGA research on other states. The median salary for state residential program direct care staff is also considerably higher than that offered by private providers—$22,762 per year compared to $18,663 per year. In addition, there is a difference between median salaries paid by non-profit and for-profit private providers. As shown in Exhibit 3, the median salary paid by non-profit providers was almost $2,000 higher than the median salary paid by for-profit residential providers. Exhibit 4 Private Direct Care Employees with Dependents Could Qualify for Public Assistance Programs Exhibit 3 Non-Profit Programs Paid Direct Care Staff Higher Salaries Than for-Profit Programs Provider For Profit Programs Not-for-Profit Programs Program Food Stamps Median Salary $17,906 19,881 WIC Source: OPPAGA analysis of workforce survey of private providers conducted by the Florida Juvenile Justice Association in January 2005. KidCare Our case studies of seven residential programs showed that while state direct care employees tend to earn more than private provider staff, this trend reversed itself when comparing the salaries of program directors. State directors (called superintendents) had a median salary of $45,137, while their private provider counterparts had a median salary of $58,984. 7 7 Eligibility Low income individuals and families Pregnant or nursing mothers, and children under five-years-old Children living in homes where total income is 200% or less of federal poverty level Single Income Household with Two Dependents1 $20,376 29,772 32,184 1 The figure represents the maximum family income. The median salary for private residential direct care staff is $18,663. Source: Department of Children and Families, Department of Health, and Florida KidCare. This analysis compared data from all state residential programs, as provided by the department, with data from the private providers in our case study sample. 5 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 Per diem rates for private providers have not increased as fast as state salaries Exhibit 5 Turnover Rates Vary Among Programs Private providers assert that their salaries are relatively low due to the residential per diem rate the state pays for juvenile programs. Salaries constitute the biggest expense in most programs’ operating budgets, which are tied to the per diem rate paid by the state. Program Pensacola Boys Base Bowling Green Mandala Riverside South Pines Bristol Academy Hastings Most per diem rates were established when the department was created in 1994. Since that time, the Legislature has funded four increases in per diem rates. In 2002 and 2003, a limited number of providers with the lowest rates received rate increases in order to address inequities in the rate structure. In 2004, the Legislature approved an overall per diem rate increase of $3.5 million. In 2005, the Legislature appropriated an additional $3.8 million to be distributed across private residential programs. The two across-theboard rate increases would have raised private direct care salaries by approximately 12% if used for that purpose; in comparison, since 1994 the Legislature has increased state salaries an average of approximately 2% per year, for a total increase of 27%. Turnover Rate 0 9% 15% 30% 70% 96% 105% Starting / Median Salary $22,571 / 18,720 / 18,720 / 16,120 / 17,992 / 17,680 / 16,640 / $28,019 18,720 20,051 18,720 18,720 18,408 16,641 Source: Workforce survey, DJJ, and individual providers. As shown above, turnover rates varied inversely with starting and median salaries, with the programs offering the lowest salaries generally experiencing the highest turnover. Most providers reported losing staff to better paying positions both inside and outside the field. For example, administrators in rural areas reported difficulty hiring and retaining good direct care staff, and noted that retail warehouses were paying higher entry salaries, as were nearby adult correctional facilities. A commonly reported pattern was that private provider employees left for better paying positions in department programs, while department staff left for better paying positions in adult correctional facilities. The starting salary for correctional officers at adult prisons is $28,808 and their median salary is $33,238, compared to the $22,571 and $22,762 starting and median salaries of state juvenile justice residential program staff. Correctional officers also earn special risk retirement. 8 The per diem increases were not specifically earmarked for salaries, and in our field visits we found that some providers had used the 2004 money to increase salaries while other providers had not. Salary is one of several factors that contributes to staff turnover According to managers and staff, salary is the biggest contributing factor to staff turnover, although the work environment is also crucial. Juvenile justice officials estimate annual residential direct care staff turnover to be about 55% statewide. Turnover increases costs and can result in staff shortages, which can put youth and staff at risk and reduce program effectiveness. The largest costs of turnover are due to overtime and increased training. When vacancies occur, frequently with no notice, programs often must pay overtime to other staff in order to maintain required staffing ratios until replacements are hired and trained. Overtime can cause stress To examine how salary affects turnover, we reviewed seven residential programs located throughout the state. During the most recent contract year, these programs’ turnover ranged from zero (no turnover) at Pensacola Boys Base to 105% at Hastings, as shown in Exhibit 5. 8 6 Special risk retirement may occur after 25 years and the retirement rate is calculated at 3% of the officer’s salary; regular retirement may occur after 30 years and is calculated at 1.6% of salary. Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report While many factors influence whether a delinquent youth re-offends, extensive national research shows that selecting employees based in part on their skills in relating to youth and training staff to model and reinforce positive relationship skills are significant factors in reducing recidivism. Careful selection of staff also can increase employee retention, as employees who are a better fit are more effective and derive more satisfaction from the job. Adding this dimension to employee selection can thus improve program quality and reduce turnover without increasing costs. for employees remaining at the program and thus contribute to additional staff turnover. High turnover also drives up training costs, as new employees must be paid during 120 hours or more of training. Turnover also increases costs for recruitment, interviewing, and screening; for example, some programs employ a full-time recruiter because their turnover is so high. Finally, turnover can discourage providers from investing in additional training beyond the minimum required. Managers can take steps to reduce turnover by improving work environment Training staff to understand and reinforce treatment also improves retention and Two programs with the program results. Among the seven residential programs in our case study, those with the lowest turnover offered relatively high salaries and supportive working conditions. Key aspects of good working environments include selecting employees who relate to youth in positive ways; involving direct care staff in treatment; and fostering good relationships among staff. lowest turnover, Bowling Green Youth Academy and Pensacola Boys Base, provided meaningful responsibilities for direct care staff and structured their programs to conduct ongoing training that exceeds the department’s requirements at minimal cost. In addition to making staff feel valued, this approach can contribute to the treatment of the youth in custody. At Pensacola Boys Base, all staff members conduct treatment groups and can receive training credit for attending each others’ groups, and a library of training videos is available for staff to watch as their schedules permit. In addition to conducting treatment groups, each direct care employee is a project officer for a community service project. Direct care employees describe their responsibilities and sense of contribution to youth and the community as reasons for the positive work environment at the program. Bowling Green schedules four shift crews so that a rotating shift can cover the program during weekly staff training. The program is currently engaged in the “What Works” program to provide additional training in evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment so that all direct care staff can contribute to the program’s treatment objectives. Hiring employees who relate to youth in positive ways can improve the work environment and increase program effectiveness. Some program managers report using only the minimum education and criminal history requirements when hiring staff because they have so few qualified applicants or such high turnover; other program managers are more selective and attempt to hire applicants that have indicated an ability to relate to youth in positive ways. Managers of these programs believe hiring such staff improves program effectiveness and staff retention. These programs take steps such as asking applicants to describe how they have reacted to situations similar to typical occurrences in the programs or using videos that portray common situations and giving the applicants response options to allow the manager to assess whether applicants choose appropriate responses. 7 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 Training requirements differ for state and private provider direct care staff These steps to create a positive environment appear to aid in retention. Pensacola Boys Base is able to recruit employees from the detention center, where pay is higher, and Bowling Green had only 9% turnover for the most recent contract year, despite competition for staff from nearby prisons, mental hospitals, and other delinquency programs. Section 985.406, Florida Statutes, requires the department to develop training to “foster better staff morale and reduce mistreatment and aggressive and abusive behavior in delinquency programs; to positively impact the recidivism of children in the juvenile justice system; and to afford greater protection of the public through an improved level of services delivered by a professionally trained juvenile justice staff to children who are alleged to be or who have been found to be delinquent.” The statute also requires the department to establish a certifiable program of training that meets the accreditation standards of the American Correctional Association, and includes a competency-based examination for all direct care staff employed by the state and contracted providers. Fostering good working relationships among staff and resolving conflict can help improve staff retention. Direct care staff that we interviewed cited overtime, unreliable coworkers, interpersonal conflict among staff, and difficult youth as the greatest sources of frustration on the job. The three programs in our case studies with the lowest turnover took steps to address these problems through teambuilding and resolving conflicts among staff. Employees at Bowling Green and Mandala indicated that their managers were effective in counseling and quickly addressing and resolving conflicts among staff, while employees at Pensacola Boys Base reported that they use the skills taught to youth to resolve conflicts among themselves. Employees at Bowling Green also mentioned the program’s team spirit and encouragement given by other staff members as reasons for the program’s low turnover. Fostering these positive working relationships can thus improve employee retention at relatively little cost. The department provides certified training for state detention, probation, and residential staff. However, these requirements have not been incorporated into its contracts with private providers, who must meet lower training standards. The department’s rationale for not requiring private provider staff to become certified is that no additional funding was approved for certifiable training and providers would see this requirement as an unfunded mandate. The 2005 Legislature passed Ch. 2005-263, Laws of Florida, which creates a task force to study certification for professional employees of private juvenile justice providers. Training _______________ Since qualifications and salaries for direct care staff generally are minimal, training is important to ensure that direct care workers have the skills necessary for the job. Training should provide the skills needed to maintain a safe and secure environment for youth who may be hostile and aggressive, as well as give staff the skills to model, recognize, and reinforce the positive behaviors the programs are designed to teach youth. Currently, training requirements for state employees are substantially higher than those required of private program staff, for both residential and non-residential programs, as shown in Exhibit 6. 8 Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Staff needs more training on program treatment models Exhibit 6 Required Training Hours for State Direct Care Staff Are Double Those Required for Private Providers Residential Non-Residential State Private Provider 240 hours 295 hours 120 hours 120 hours According to research by the National Institute of Corrections and the Crime and Justice Institute, to help reduce recidivism, direct care employees need to recognize anti-social and pro-social attitudes and behavior in themselves and in youth and to model and reinforce prosocial attitudes, thinking and behavior. To do so, employees need training in effective treatment approaches and communication skills. Managers should monitor and reinforce direct care staff use of these skills to ensure program effectiveness. Source: Department of Juvenile Justice. Before being in the presence of youth, state and private direct care staff must complete 57 hours of initial training, including 40 hours of Protective Action Response (PAR) training. The balance of this required initial training focuses on CPR/First Aid, suicide prevention and emergency procedures, and “Red Flag” training, which deals with professional conduct and sexual boundary issues between staff and juveniles in the care and custody of the department. 9 Currently, neither state nor private direct care staff training requirements are in alignment with national recommendations from program effectiveness research. The only training requirement for private providers directly relating to changing youth behavior is four hours of training in behavior management. Staff of state programs receive 28 hours of required training in communication skills, behavior management, and restorative justice, but they are not trained to recognize anti-social behavior and attitudes, or how to reinforce effective delinquency treatment approaches. Beyond the initial 57 hours, training standards for state and private direct care staff differ, as shown in Exhibit 7. State employees receive considerably more on-the-job and treatmentrelated training. Exhibit 7 State Staff Requirements Include More Hours for On-the-job Training and Appropriate Behavior Training Area Initial safety and security training On the job training - safety, security, admissions, releases, supervision of youth, transportation Study, testing and graduation Treatment-oriented training Orientation Professional and appropriate behavior Admission and release of youth, supervision, report writing, transportation Information about youth and services Electives Total Requirements Private Hours State Hours 57 57 20 0 4 4 9 40 37 28 22 20 4 12 10 120 18 18 0 240 The department should consider revisiting the allocation of hours among training topics. When direct care employees, who spend much more time with youth than therapists, are considered part of the treatment team and are trained to reinforce the pro-social thinking and skills that are taught to youth, the program can have a more intensive effect in reducing recidivism. Further, as discussed earlier, involving direct care staff in treatment can help decrease employee turnover. Source: OPPAGA analysis of department policies. 9 State probation officers in training and under the supervision of a certified probation officer may be in the presence of youth prior to completing these requirements. 9 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 Managers express concern about PAR training Most residential commitment programs in Florida use cognitive behavioral approaches, which are evidence-based approaches to systematically teach youth pro-social ways to think about and respond to challenging interpersonal situations. In our field work, we found that few programs conducted initial or ongoing staff training on communication skills or treatment approaches, which was reflected in the negative behavior exhibited by untrained staff. Youth in many programs perceive that direct care workers do not practice the skills the program is attempting to teach the youth. A number of program staff and managers we interviewed expressed a need for more skill-oriented demonstrations, practice, and on-the-job training in how to deal with youth, and less lecture, theory, and computer training. Most state and private program managers and direct care staff we interviewed felt that the training mandated by the department covers essential material and is appropriate. However, they expressed concern about the PAR portion of the training. PAR is intended to teach staff how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations through verbal techniques and physical restraint if necessary. Staff and managers asserted that the way PAR is currently taught places too much emphasis on physical intervention and does not include enough practice on verbal and non-verbal skills to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. As one probation officer said, “the most important part of PAR is the verbal deescalation training, and it is the least effective part of the training.” Employees that lack deescalation skills may be quick to physically restrain or “take-down” youth, which can increase the risk of injury for staff and youth as well as liability for the provider and the state. Employees that are not given adequate training to deal with hostile and aggressive youth may respond with inappropriate language and behavior, thus reinforcing youths’ negative self-concepts and negative ways of dealing with other people. In our site visits, youth at a number of facilities indicated that they were routinely verbally abused, cursed, and humiliated by staff. For example, staff reportedly responded to poor behavior by saying, “that’s why your parents don’t come to visit,” and “that’s why you don’t have a family.” Some programs give additional training that emphasizes verbal de-escalation skills, and have reduced the use of force in their programs. Department managers and training developers agreed that the verbal intervention portion of PAR needs strengthening, and indicate that this issue will be addressed by the certification task force. Training in effective verbal intervention skills for PAR is consistent with some of the skills needed to reinforce the program’s treatment effects, and training for each should complement and reinforce the other. Implementing more effective verbal training for PAR could be accomplished without increasing training hours by prioritizing and reallocating training hours. The department has established a “What Works” pilot project to assist 10 residential programs in training their staff to implement evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment to reduce juvenile recidivism. This is a step in the right direction. However, the “What Works” trainer and program managers have expressed a need for more intensive training to provide staff skill development and practice in communication, de-escalation, and effective treatment approaches. 10 Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Recommendations _____ Agency Response _______ To help the Legislature assess funding needs, In accordance with the provisions of s. 11.51(6), Florida Statutes, a draft of our report was submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice for review and response. we recommend that the department survey providers to determine whether they used the $3.8 million increase in per diem rates appropriated by the 2005 Legislature for staff salaries or other purposes. The department survey should also determine if salary increases affected turnover. Employee turnover and staff shortages reduce program effectiveness and put youth and the state at risk. The Secretary’s written response is reproduced in its entirety in Appendix B. To increase employee retention, we recommend that state and private program managers seek to hire staff who relate to youth in positive ways; provide employees with training in their programs’ treatment model and include direct care staff as members of the treatment team; and foster good relationships among staff by helping mediate disputes. To address training needs, we recommend that the department revise staff training requirements and curriculum to ensure that direct care staff is included in the training and implementation of their programs’ treatment model and is regularly assessed on their use of these skills, consistent with evidence-based practice shown to reduce recidivism, and we also recommend that that the department strengthen the verbal de-escalation portion of PAR training. The department should assess the impact of this revised training on use of “take-downs” by provider staff. 11 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 Appendix A OPPAGA Site Visits To collect information for this review, OPPAGA staff visited a range of programs throughout the juvenile justice continuum and across the state. At these programs we interviewed program managers and staff, held focus groups with youth, and obtained program documents. For our residential program case studies, we selected programs with varying amounts of staff turnover. OPPAGA Visited 14 Juvenile Justice Programs Name of Program Prevention PACE Broward PACE Leon Detention Leon Detention Center Miami-Dade Detention Center Okaloosa Detention Center Probation / Day Treatment Circuit 18 Probation Crosswinds Youth Services Tallahassee Marine Institute (AMI) Residential Bowling Green and New Beginnings Bristol Youth Academy1 Hastings Mandala Pensacola Boys Base Riverside Academy South Pines Academy 1 County Broward Leon Leon Dade Okaloosa Brevard, Seminole Brevard Leon Hardee Liberty St. Johns Pasco Escambia Hillsborough Broward We conducted telephone interviews to gather information. 12 Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Appendix B FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE Jeb Bush, Governor Anthony J. Schembri, Secretary September 2, 2005 Gary VanLandingham OPPAGA Director 314 Claude Pepper Building 111 West Madison Street Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1475 Dear Mr. VanLandingham: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your office's report of August 2005, Qualifications, Screening, Salaries, and Training Affect Quality and Turnover of Juvenile Justice Employees. Generally we concur with your recommendations and offer these responses. Recommendation: To help the Legislature assess funding needs, we recommend that the department survey providers to determine whether they used the $3.8 million increase in per diem rates appropriated by the 2005 Legislature for staff salaries or other purposes. The department survey should also determine if the salary increases affect turnover. Employee turnover and staff shortages reduce program effectiveness and put youth and the state at risk. Response: We agree that a study needs to be conducted to determine whether providers used the $3.8 million increase in per diem rates appropriated by the 2005 Legislature for staff salaries or other purposes. We think that it may be more appropriate to have an independent entity such as OPPAGA, conduct such a survey of providers to get an unbiased response. To conduct such a study would require extensive staff time and resources, in which department staff that are skilled to conduct such a survey, is already overextended and committed to other projects. However, we are willing to partner with OPPAGA staff to conduct the study and provide whatever information is necessary to accurately account for how the funds were distributed. In addition, as a part of the per diem increase amendment, the department is requiring a revised budget that reflects the use of the 2005 Legislative Appropriation. This information could prove useful in determining how the $3.8 million increase in per diem was used. We are requesting that OPPAGA staff partner with staff in the offices of Research and Planning and Residential Services to obtain all relevant information of all residential providers who may have been affected by this legislation. Recommendation: To increase employee retention, we recommend that state and private program managers seek to hire staff who relate to youth in positive ways; provide employees with training in their programs' treatment model and include direct care staff as members of the treatment team; and foster good relationships among staff by helping mediate disputes. 2737 Centerview Drive ● Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3100 ● (850) 488-1850 The mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice is to protect the public by reducing juvenile crime and delinquency in Florida. 13 OPPAGA Report Report No. 05-46 Gary VanLandingham September 2, 2005 Page 2 Response: The department is currently developing a new training curriculum to include an aptitude test for prospective direct care applicants. A component of the test will be a "personality index" questionnaire that is widely recognized as a best practice and will assist in identifying behavioral traits that are conducive to and critical in our work environment. The department will continue its "What Works" pilot project in residential programs and will modify contract language to ensure direct care staff is trained in their programs' treatment model. Recommendation: To address training needs, we recommend that the department revise staff training requirements and curriculum to ensure that direct care staff is included in the training and implementation of their programs' treatment model and is regularly assessed on their use of these skills consistent with evidence-based practice shown to reduce recidivism. Response: Residential Services currently list in its contracts several specific training requirements in conjunction with the department's training requirements. We will add a clause to the contract requiring providers to train all direct care and other applicable staff in the program's treatment model. Residential Monitors will monitor whether the training has occurred and assess staffs utilization of these skills. Recommendation: We recommend that the department strengthen the verbal de-escalation portion of PAR training. The department should assess the impact of this revised training on use of "take-downs" by provider staff. Response: Under the department's current Protective Action Response (PAR) plan, the 20 hours of verbal intervention training make up 50 percent of the 40 hours of PAR training all newly hired recruits undergo at the hiring facility. As part of the Basic Academy training, that same new hire receives an additional 5 hours of PAR Refresher training with a heavy re-emphasis on verbal deescalation skills. Beginning January 1, 2006, the department plans to augment its existing PAR plan by expanding the 45-hour training base to include an additional 20 hours of intensive training that will be provided in the Basic Recruit Academy setting. In the more formal and controlled environment, the department takes proactive steps toward ensuring that verbal de-escalation skills and scenario-based training are mandatory and key components of the newly expanded PAR training program. 14 Report No. 05-46 OPPAGA Report Gary VanLandingham September 2, 2005 Page 3 If additional information is needed, please contact Steve Meredith at 921-6331. Respectfully, /s/ Anthony J. Schembri Secretary cc: Deputy Secretary Steve Casey Assistant Secretary Charles Chervanik Acting Inspector General Steve Meredith Acting Assistant Secretary Daryl Olson Director Eber Brown Director Jane McElroy Director Ted Tollett Chief Louise Mondragon 15 The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability Visit the Florida Monitor, OPPAGA’s online service. See www.oppaga.state.fl.us. This site monitors the performance and accountability of Florida government by making OPPAGA's four primary products available online. OPPAGA publications and contracted reviews, such as policy analyses and performance reviews, assess the efficiency and effectiveness of state policies and programs and recommend improvements for Florida government. Performance-based program budgeting (PB²) reports and information offer a variety of tools. Program evaluation and justification reviews assess state programs operating under performance-based program budgeting. 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OPPAGA supports the Florida Legislature by providing evaluative research and objective analyses to promote government accountability and the efficient and effective use of public resources. This project was conducted in accordance with applicable evaluation standards. Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021 or 800/531-2477), by FAX (850/487-3804), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475). Cover photo by Mark Foley. Florida Monitor: www.oppaga.state.fl.us Project supervised by Kathy McGuire (850/487-9224) Project conducted by Jason Gaitanis (850/410-4792), Rashada Houston (850/487-4971), and LucyAnn Walker-Fraser (850/487-9168) Gary R. VanLandingham, OPPAGA Director