Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services Honored with Two National Awards

For Immediate Release                                                                                     Contact: Joseph Smack

Wednesday, August 14, 2019                                                                    (302) 633-2501 or 893-8930 (m)


Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services Honored with Two National Awards

 Stevenson House Detention Center recognized for reducing confinement & Ferris School best group performance in Kids Got Talent contest

 Wilmington – The Delaware Children’s Department, Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services was recently honored with the prestigious Barbara Allen-Hagen Award for improving the conditions of confinement and the quality of life for youths in secure placements. The award is given in three categories: juvenile correction facilities, detention/assessment centers, and community residential programs and are judged on exemplary commitment to Performance-based Standards to best serve youths, families, and staff.

One winner in each category was selected and honored at the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and Performance-based standards Awards Night in Boston, MA on August 2, 2019. Stevenson House Detention Center in Milford was selected as the winner in the detention/assessment center category for effectively reducing confinement by modifying the behavior management system in the facility. System improvements at Stevenson House have reduced the use of isolation from an average of 131 per month in 2017 to 11 per month in 2019.

“Being recognized nationally for the work the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services does every day to improve the lives of youth in our care is exciting and validates that we are on the right track in helping these adolescents and their families achieve better outcomes. Superintendent Kenney and her team at Stevenson House have done outstanding work to change the culture of the facility so that it benefits not only the youth we serve, but also our staff,” said Josette Manning, Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families.

Performance-based Standards is a data-driven improvement model grounded in research that challenges youth correction, detention, assessment and community-based facilities and agencies to treat all youths in custody as ‘one of our own.’

“Stevenson House is honored to accept the Barbara Allen-Hagen Award,” said Katie Kenney, superintendent of Stevenson House Detention Center. “The entire staff should be commended for the hard work that has been put forth to improve our facility. We recognize that the changes we have made and continue to put in place were huge shifts in how we operated on a daily basis, however, we have seen the positive results and will continue to move forward.” Kenney concluded.

Ferris School for Boys was also honored for winning the group performance category of the Performance-based Standards ‘Kids Got Talent’ contest. The competition had over 62 submissions from facilities across the nation. The Ferris School entry, an original music video “What You Know,” was fully written and produced by students Jamir Goldsborough, Isiah Lecompte, and Zyaire Martinez. The winning video was created through a new music program initiative at Ferris School that was developed by supervisors Richard Booker and Joshua Fields. “This was an amazing opportunity for our students,” said John Stevenson, Director of the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services, “We are very proud of their accomplishment in winning this national talent contest and that their hard work has been noticed.”

The winning performance video may be found here:

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have behavioral health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit

For more information on Performance-based Standards, please visit their website at


Criminal Justice Council Announces Funding for Reentry Programs

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware has an astounding need for successful reentry programs and services. Attorney General Matt Denn and Criminal Justice Council Executive Director Christian Kervick are pleased to announce that workshops will be held in early August to explain to non-profit groups how they can apply for grants from $2 million that has been set aside to support community-based efforts to reduce recidivism among adults and juveniles released from Delaware correctional facilities.

The workshops will be hosted by the Criminal Justice Council on August 3 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Dover Police Department (400 South Queen Street), and on August 4 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Goodwill Center in Wilmington (300 East Lea Boulevard).  To register for either event, please go to the CJC’s event’s page.

The workshops will also be videotaped for interested non-profit groups that cannot attend either workshop, and the videos will be posted on the web sites of both the Delaware Department of Justice and the Delaware Criminal Justice Council.

Grants will be available in amounts up to $150,000, and for periods of up to two years.  The structure of the solicitation is designed to ensure that funds are available both to larger organizations with a history of receiving and spending grant monies, and smaller qualified organizations that may not have an extensive history of receiving grants.

About 97% of the inmate population will be released to the community. Bridging the gap in resources is crucial for the success of the reentry process.  These funds are being made available to improve the lives of all Delaware’s citizens.

More information is available on the Criminal Justice Council’s Open Solicitations page on their website.  Concept papers must be submitted by September 2, 2016.

Please contact Valarie Tickle with any questions about this new funding program. Ms. Tickle may be reached at 302-577-5030.



The Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services in cooperation with the Criminal Justice Council announce the Statewide Juvenile Civil Citation Program Beginning

Wilmington, DE- The Criminal Justice Council is pleased to announce that funding has been awarded to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF), Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) for the implementation of Delaware’s Juvenile Civil Citation Program. This project will address juvenile first-time misdemeanor offenses for violations of Disorderly Conduct, Loitering, Shoplifting, Title IV Alcohol Offenses (underage consumption and possession), Possession of Marijuana (less than 1 ounce), and Criminal Trespass III. Since early 2010, the State has convened work groups with statewide representatives involved in juvenile justice to look at alternative methods of arrest for low level first-time misdemeanor juveniles.

The Juvenile Civil Citation Program funded with a grant of $67,745 per year for three years, will try to prevent further delinquency, and ensure that participating youth will address their offense appropriately without creating a criminal record.  This will allow juveniles the opportunity to be held accountable for their actions without limiting future growth and success as the result of having a criminal arrest/adjudication. Additionally, participating youth will be given the opportunity to have intervention services at pre arrest stage of delinquency. “The Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services looks forward to building partnerships with our community stakeholders and law enforcement to promote and expand the civil citation process statewide.  By intervening at the early stages of delinquency, we can provide immediate intervention and hold youth accountable for their actions”, said YRS Director Nancy Dietz.

Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council, noted that we were proud to be a partner in the development of the Civil Citation program for DYRS. This program will provide another tool for law enforcement to move low level first time juvenile offenders through the system efficiently and effectively while reserving more resources to dedicate to more serious juvenile offenders.

Studies have shown that diverting first-time juvenile misdemeanants through programs such as civil citation saves significant dollars that otherwise would be spent if these same youth were arrested and required to go through formal delinquency processing.  Delaware’s model utilizes much of the existing state’s juvenile justice system tools, with the addition and creation of a Juvenile Civil Citation Coordinator position to organize, collaborate, and move this concept forward. The projected start date will be in July, 2015.