Celebrating Echo Glen's Successes

May 4, 2022
Image of Echo Glen Children's Center entrance sign.

DCYF's partners at Performance-based Standards (PbS) measure the agency's work in Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) institutions and compare it with national trends. PbS recently shared data across all three JR institutions, and over the past few years, Echo Glen Children’s Center has seen significant improvements in several key areas of treatment. A few worth celebrating include:

  • The percentage of youth who received staff support in addressing grievances is consistently above national field averages.
  • Youth-on-youth assault has been consistently below national field averages.
  • Use of restraints is below national field averages.

Echo Glen has also made innovations in education and learning opportunities for youth, as well as in expanding trauma-informed care. Several successes include:

  • Initiating a comprehensive orientation process for incoming students (school credit review, hope scale review, interest and learning types interview, etc.), three recent high school graduations and one GED graduate with more on the way, the creation of an after-school program and student guidance team, and more.
  • Continuing a phenomenal partnership with UPower, which uses trauma-informed coaching with movement and play to empower and educate youth.
  • Launching the Edible Schoolyard program, which provides content-rich learning experiences that allow Echo Glen’s youth to learn and practice hard skills, develop their knowledge of food systems, and produce tangible results in the kitchen and garden.
  • Mental health team progress in working with programs and case managers to build youth shaping plans, consulting administration on mental health programs and services on campus, providing case management services in a multi-disciplinary team, and more.
  • Launching the Youth Engagement Specialist (YES) Team to help reduce room confinement by supporting youth in school, creating time for staff treatment work, and overseeing pro-social volunteer programs.
  • Several animal-centered programs that focus on healing, patience, growth, and humanity. Programs include Canine Connections, campus therapy dog sessions, equine experiences, and kitten fostering.
  • Beginning a program with Pongo Poetry, which provides healing through the arts.
  • A Yoga Behind Bars pilot, which provides trauma-informed yoga sessions for both staff and young people.
  • A new partnership with the Center for Dialog and Resolution, where employees and youth learn mediation and conflict resolution.
  • The launch of an on-campus beauty school for youth to learn cosmetology, barbering, styling, coloring, and more.

In addition, a group of dedicated volunteers (Friends of Echo Glen) have created a plethora of healing volunteer opportunities for youth. These include fundraisers and donations to fund youth development, service events for the community, paving the way for new program opportunities, beautifying the campus, and more.

Thanks to the dedication of volunteers, partners, and staff, Echo Glen is strengthening therapeutic environments, expanding trauma-informed care, and enhancing services and supports. We look forward to continued goal attainment and helping young people launch into their futures.