FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Nelson, BRIDGES Program Manager
ANNOUNCING LAUNCH OF THE BRIDGES PROGRAM AT CASA DC
Washington, DC – May 2019 – CASA for Children of DC is pleased to announce the official launch of a new program on June 10, 2019! The BRIDGES Program will provide Court Appointed Special Advocates to court-involved youth in DC who have encountered the juvenile justice system, particularly foster youth. A virtual information session will be held on June 13 at noon about the new program. Please see below for details.
In 2015 the Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program (JBDP)/Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program was established at CASA DC to expand CASA’s services and volunteer model to serve court-involved youth referred from the juvenile justice system for delinquency or status offenses. In 2018 CASA DC began focusing efforts on learning more about the juvenile justice system in DC, and evaluating both cases in the JBDP/PINS program, and CASA’s programs at large. We found that 1) many foster youth referred to CASA DC were encountering the juvenile justice system, but this issue was not captured in the current advocacy model, and 2) the JBDP/PINS program had grown far beyond its original concept. CASA DC focused on providing more training to all advocates and staff working with youth coming into contact with the juvenile justice system, advocating for the particular issues those youth may be facing, and building relationships with our strategic partners, such as Court Social Services.
While these efforts are still in place, CASA DC decided it was time to make a bigger change! Effective June 10, the JBDP/PINS program at CASA will be retired and replaced with the BRIDGES Program. The BRIDGES Program will formalize the efforts described above to allow CASA advocates to better understand and leverage their position as advocates working with youth encountering the juvenile justice system.
The aim of the BRIDGES Program is to prevent youth from becoming multi-system involved, decrease instances of recidivism, and to promote diversion opportunities. More importantly, the aim of the program is to empower court-involved-youth to build BRIDGES, that is, to Be Resilient, be Individuals, be Determined, be Great, be Educated, and be Safe. A copy of the program flier may be downloaded here.
On Thursday, June 13 12:00 – 1:00pm CASA DC will host a virtual information session. The webinar session can be accessed:
Optional dial in number: 202-400-3718
No PIN needed
For those unable to attend the virtual session, CASA DC, in partnership with the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, will host a training session for stakeholders to learn more about the program. The training session will be held June 27, 2019 4:30-6:00 pm at Georgetown University Law Center. Please RSVP to TINYURL.COM/JUN27CLE
Currently The BRIDGES program is able to take referrals for youth with open NEG, JBDP, HOPE and PINS cases in DC. If you are working with a youth and would like to make a referral, please contact the youth’s family court judge. To learn more about all four specialized programs at CASA DC, visit our Programs Page.